5 ex-Panthers – living or deceased – we’d love to see play one more time

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Mike Minter
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Mike Minter /
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Sam Mills, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Sam Mills /

Pick Analysis. CAROLINA PANTHERS. player. 87. Scouting Report. LB. SAMMILLS. 5

Carolina Panthers Player No. 5: Sam Mills (LB)

Even though Sam Mills played just three seasons with the Carolina Panthers, he left behind a lasting legacy that will live through the ages. The tireless linebacker was a relentless force over his 12-year career. But he was so much more than just a football player later on.

Mills was a dominant tackling presence on the field. He was everything you look for in a leader. And he played every snap like it was his last.

The player was deemed too small for the linebacker position by so-called experts. And Mills used this as motivation to defy the odds and make a real go of things in the NFL when many expected him to go in a completely different direction.

This was down in no small part to his will, desire, and ability to produce the goods when it mattered most. Mills ended his time on the field with 1,265 tackles, 22 forced fumbles, 20.5 sacks, and 11 interceptions. His solo tackles during his three seasons in Carolina were 86, 90, and 72, which was outstanding production at the back end of his career.

Related Story. Carolina Panthers: Sam Mills’ legacy more than just Keep Pounding Day. light

Mills eventually went down the coaching route following his retirement before he eventually lost his life after a fierce battle with intestinal cancer in 2005 aged 45.

The Panthers continue to honor Mills with their annual Keep Pounding Day initiative. And his statue outside Bank of America Stadium is a daily reminder to never give up no matter what.

What we wouldn’t give to see Mills take the field one last time. He was the heart and soul of every defense he turned out for. And he is greatly missed.

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