KEEP POUNDING: Panthers legend Sam Mills elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Carolina Panthers linebacker and assistant coach Sam Mills is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mills was announced as a member of the Class of 2022 Thursday night, part of an eight-man group whose names can’t be separated from the story of the game, and whose bronze busts will now watch over football history for generations to come.

This was Mills’ third straight year as a finalist and his final year of eligibility as a modern era candidate.

Mills, who died from cancer in 2005, became one of the original Panthers in 1995 after spending his first nine seasons with the Saints.

During his NFL career, he was a three-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler.

>> MORE: Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomes 8 members

Mills has also been inducted into the Saints Ring of Honor, the Panthers Hall of Honor, and his No. 51 is the only number retired in Panthers history.

While battling cancer, Mills still coached. His motivational speech before the team’s home playoff victory over Dallas in 2004 included directions to “Keep Pounding,” a phrase that is still chanted at games at Bank of America Stadium.

“Sam Mills is the greatest Panther ever,” longtime wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said in a Panthers news release. “Simply put, he established the standard for everything that came here after him. He did that on the field with the way he played, and obviously made the same kind of impact off the field.

He’s joined in this year’s modern-era class by Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli, Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour, Packers safety LeRoy Butler, and 49ers defensive tackle Bryant Young. Also elected were former Eagles, Rams, and Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, officiating pioneer Art McNally, and former Raiders receiver Cliff Branch from the senior committee.

(WATCH BELOW: Carolina Panthers’ historian recalls team’s most memorable moments)

Comments on this article