R.I.P. Sam Mills

Dies Of Intestinal Cancer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sam Mills, an undersized linebacker who became a Pro Bowl player with New Orleans and Carolina and was later an assistant coach for the Panthers, died Monday after fighting cancer for nearly two years, the Panthers said. He was 45.

Mills, who was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine in August 2003 but continued to coach Carolina's linebackers between chemotherapy treatments, died at his home.

Mills continued to coach the Panthers linebackers between chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with cancer in 2003.

"Sam was one of the finest people you will ever meet. You would never know that he was a player who made Pro Bowls and had all this attention because he treated everybody the same no matter who they were," Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said. "He never had a bad thing to say about anybody and had a great ability to laugh at himself.

"He was the type of guy you want your kids to grow up to be."

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Mills spent the final three seasons of his 12-year NFL career with the Panthers, beginning with their inaugural season in 1995.

There is a statue of him outside Bank of America Stadium and he is the only player in the team's Hall of Honor. Mike McCormack, Carolina's first team president, is the only other inductee in the Hall.

"Words are inadequate to express what Sam meant to the Panthers organization," Carolina owner Jerry Richardson said. "We were privileged to have him as a member of our family, and we are devastated over this loss."

If anything, Mills seemed like a really honest, good guy. I know a lot of people seem that way in a Obit, but I never remember hearing anything bad about him. A loss for the NFL.

Man, that sucks. Only 45.

Sam Mills was a special player, in that he was physically UN-gifted. The guy was 5''9"", without blazing speed or strength. His path to the NFL went through both the CFL and the USFL. He looked like a midget surrounded by giants. But he played far, far beyond his stature. His quickness was more a product of his intelligence and reading a play than it was anything physical. It didn''t show up on a stopwatch, but it showed up on the field.

He was part of the dominant quartet of linebackers for the Saints in the early 90s: Mills, Pat Swilling, Ricky Jackson, and Vaughan Johnson. All 4 went to no fewer than four Pro Bowls - two (including Mills) went to 5 and one went to 6. You have 4 guys like that, you HAVE to run a 3-4.


Rest in Peace, Sam Mills....

"*Legion*" wrote:

He was part of the dominant quartet of linebackers for the Saints in the early 90s: Mills, Pat Swilling, Ricky Jackson, and Vaughan Johnson. All 4 went to no fewer than four Pro Bowls - two (including Mills) went to 5 and one went to 6. You have 4 guys like that, you HAVE to run a 3-4.

Ahh, now THAT brings back some rosy memories...

"*Legion*" wrote:

Sam Mills was a special player, in that he was physically UN-gifted. The guy was 5''9"", without blazing speed or strength. His path to the NFL went through both the CFL and the USFL. He looked like a midget surrounded by giants. But he played far, far beyond his stature. His quickness was more a product of his intelligence and reading a play than it was anything physical. It didn''t show up on a stopwatch, but it showed up on the field.

He was part of the dominant quartet of linebackers for the Saints in the early 90s: Mills, Pat Swilling, Ricky Jackson, and Vaughan Johnson. All 4 went to no fewer than four Pro Bowls - two (including Mills) went to 5 and one went to 6. You have 4 guys like that, you HAVE to run a 3-4. :)

As someone who grew up watching that quartet (though I would have sworn it was late 80''s), there''s really not much more for me to add except that I will personally miss him (to the extent you can miss someone you never met, anyway).

"Lobo" wrote:
"*Legion*" wrote:

He was part of the dominant quartet of linebackers for the Saints in the early 90s: Mills, Pat Swilling, Ricky Jackson, and Vaughan Johnson. All 4 went to no fewer than four Pro Bowls - two (including Mills) went to 5 and one went to 6. You have 4 guys like that, you HAVE to run a 3-4.

Ahh, now THAT brings back some rosy memories...

That was my favorite quartet of linebackers ever, and of the group, Mills was my favorite. Its a shame the Saints weren''t able to field a decent offense during the period of time that defensive juggernaut existed.

R.I.P. Sam Mills.

I remember Mills, if only because that quartet made the Saints watchable, and also they were great in Madden ''93. Speed rush around the corner with Swilling and tear Aikman''s head clean off.

He was part of the dominant quartet of linebackers for the Saints in the early 90s: Mills, Pat Swilling, Ricky Jackson, and Vaughan Johnson. All 4 went to no fewer than four Pro Bowls - two (including Mills) went to 5 and one went to 6. You have 4 guys like that, you HAVE to run a 3-4

They had a phenomal year on defense the one year they finished #1 #2 with the Eagles across the board in all defensive categories..

That was a special core of LB''s assembled for those few years.

RIP he was a great man.

"Grumpicus" wrote:

As someone who grew up watching that quartet (though I would have sworn it was late 80''s)

It really bridged the two, as each started their Pro Bowl runs in the ''80s (in the case of Ricky Jackson, it was early ''80s), but it was in 1991 and 1992 where they took their team on 11 and 12 win runs and two postseason trips (other than that, they made one postseason trip in the strike-shortened ''87 season). All four went to the Pro Bowl in 1992, three went in 1991. No more than two (heh, ""no more than"") went to the Pro Bowl any other year.

I would say the early ''90s is when the group hit their peak, though all four were there from ''86 on.

"*Legion*" wrote:
"Grumpicus" wrote:

As someone who grew up watching that quartet (though I would have sworn it was late 80''s)

I would say the early ''90s is when the group hit their peak, though all four were there from ''86 on.

Ok, that jives with my recollection. Cheers!