Keep Pounding–In Honor Of Sam Mills

The man? Sam Mills, #51. The Monday before, Sam lost a 2 year battle with intestinal cancer. Not only did he leave behind hiswife and 4 kids but he left, not 1, but 2 legacies. 1st legacy– Sam Mil…

The man? Sam Mills, #51.

The Monday before, Sam lost a 2 year battle with intestinal cancer. Not only did he leave behind hiswife and 4 kids but he left, not 1, but 2 legacies.

1st legacy– Sam Mills was one of the hardest hitting linebackers in the USFL and the NFL. But he spent his career proving that his undersized 5-foot-9 frame wasn’t going to keep him from being one of pro football’s best.

Not only was Mills a 5-time Pro Bowl linbacker but he holds the distiction of being the only player in the Carolina Panthers Hall of Fame.

Add to that: A member of both the New Jersey and Louisiana Sports Halls of Fame, as well as, a statue of Mills outside the Bank of America Stadium with the inscription “Leader and Gentleman.”

Sam Mills’ former coach, Dom Capers

“Sam Mills was not only one of the finest football players that I have ever been around, but above and beyond that, he was one of the finest individuals.”

And, the 2nd legacy of Sam Mills?

Sam, along with fellow Carolina linebacker Mark Fields, who was likewise diagnosed with cancer in 2003, established the KEEP POUNDING fund.

The campaign raised more than $211,000 for local research at Blumenthal Cancer Center by selling $1 wristbands that bear Mills’ slogan “Keep Pounding.”

From a fan and admirer of Sam Mills

“I am Austin Wright and I am 10 years old. I began selling Keep Pounding bracelets in honor of my friend Jody Rodgers in the fall. I sold over 200 bracelets for the foundation, and I hope it helps with the research. I will continue to sell the bracelets in the memory of Sam Mills. I hope this will help others. I pray for you everyday.”

Sam battled the cancer hard. He once gave a news conference the day after a round of chemotherapy before the Super Bowl. As he balanced himself on the podium, he said, “You have your good days and your bad days. I am just glad I am having days, you know?”

From someone who witnessed Sam Mills’ courage

“I met Mr. Mills as we were both receiving chemotherapy last year at CHOA. I specifically remember him speaking to a young man who was also receiving chemo and was so impressed with his attitude toward the young man. I had no idea he wasn’t doing well. He was an extremely kind person and meeting him under horrific circumstances is definitely ‘bitter-sweet.’ “Cindy Helder

Although his football nickname was “Field Mouse”, Sam was a giant at heart. Everyone was someone to Sam Mills.

From a friend of Sam Mills

“Sam, you always called me by name. You told me I wasn’t just a fan but a friend that meant so much. Thanks for the friendship, the smiles, the encouragement. Because of you I will “Keep Pounding”. We miss you.”Flight Attendant/Golf caddy Jacque’ kendall

Personally, I came to know Sam Mills when I watched him, at least twice a year, play against my beloved San Francisco 49ers.

Even though he was on the ‘other team’, I marveled at his leadership and courage on the field. I admit—I secretly wished “we” had him on “our” team.

Rest in Peace #51

—Keep Pounding Fund, c/o Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, P.O. Box 32861, Charlotte, NC 28232.

On-line gifts can be made through the Web site at: http://www.givechf.org.

Article Tags: Keep Pounding

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