Carolina Panthers: Mills’ legacy more than just Keep Pounding Day

Dean Jones
(Credit: Al Bello/ALLSPORT) Sam Mills
(Credit: Al Bello/ALLSPORT) Sam Mills /
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Sam Mills, Carolina Panthers
(Mandatory Credit: Erik Perel/Allsport) Sam Mills /

Life after playing for Mills with the Carolina Panthers

There was life after playing for Sam Mills with the Carolina Panthers. He accepted the role of linebackers coach under George Seifert and John Fox and thrived with the responsibility.

There is nothing a player under Mills wouldn’t do for their coach. He had an infectious personality and a real nous for getting the best out of a player’s abilities on a consistent basis.

His initial diagnosis in 2003 during training camp did force Mills to miss some time. However, it is a testament to the man’s courage that he was able to return to his duties and played a leading role in the Panthers’ reaching a Super Bowl that same year.

Despite the treatment clearly taking a toll on Mills, this failed to dampen his enthusiasm for the game. He returned for the 2004 season before eventually stepping down as his condition worsened.

This was devastating news for the franchise, who had adopted Mills as one of their own. He started a fundraising cause entitled “Drop the Hammer on Cancer” that included selling bracelets with the team’s famous “Keep Pounding” mantra.

Such was the success of the initial response, the Keep Pounding Fund was born. This has raised millions for cancer research and ensures Mills’ legacy will last through the ages.