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Panthers legend Sam Mills elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Sam Mills is one of eight “Heroes of the Game” to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Panthers legend in his own making, Sam Mills, a football icon has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mills is one of eight “Heroes of the Game” to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Each member of this great class represents the values of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. “We look forward to honoring them in August.”

Mills was a Carolina Panther from 1995-97 before retiring and taking a job as an assistant with the team until 2004. In 2003, Mills was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, but continued to coach. He died April 18, 2005 in Charlotte.

He came up with the Panthers’ “Keep Pounding” mantra. He used it in an emotional speech in 2004 before a playoff game against the Cowboys. Mills talked about commitment, dedication, team effort and never giving up. He asked his players to “Keep Pounding.” Now the spirit of 'Keep Pounding' encourages cancer patients and survivors to keep pounding and overcome obstacles.

The Panthers tweeted late Thursday night, "Now, the legacy is complete."

The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame also include tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Cliff Branch, safety LeRoy Butler, official Art McNally, defensive end/defensive tackle Richard Seymour, coach Dick Vermeil and defensive tackle/defensive end Bryant Young.

The Class of 2022 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

SAM MILLS

HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 20
Position: Linebacker

Ht: 5-9, Wt: 229

NFL Career: 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

Seasons: 12, Games: 181

College: Montclair State

Undrafted. Signed by New Orleans Saints in 1986 after playing three seasons in USFL

Born: June 3, 1959 in Neptune, New Jersey
Died: April 18, 2005.

Played three seasons in USFL before league folded, then signed with Saints in 1986 … Quickly became starter and team leader … Earned first Pro Bowl nod in second season … Led defense that helped Saints establish sustained success for first time in franchise history … During his tenure in New Orleans, the team made four playoff appearances …  Signed with expansion Carolina Panthers as unrestricted free agent in 1995 … Key member of defense that helped Panthers claim division title and NFC Championship Game appearance in second season … Recorded five tackles and nine assists and one interception in the 1996 NFC Championship Game … Perennial team leader in tackles for Saints (five seasons) and Panthers (twice) … Named All-Pro and All-NFC three times (1991, 1992, 1996) … Voted to five Pro Bowls … Career statistics include 11 interceptions returned for 119 yards and a TD and three fumble recoveries for touchdowns.

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