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20. Sam Mills

Sam Mills signed with the expansion Carolina Panthers after spending his first nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints.  Mills was one of the best defensive players ever for the Saints, but his reputation has been appropriated by Carolina, where he was instantly their defensive leader.  He played for the Panthers for three seasons where he started all 48 of his games, making him the only Panther to start every game in the first three seasons of Carolina’s existence.  Mills would have a career renaissance in 1996 where he would go to his 5th Pro Bowl and would be chosen for his first and only First Team All-Pro.  He would have seven Interceptions and 10 Quarterback Sacks as a Panther.

After his retirement, he was inducted into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor, making him the first player to earn that accolade. 

Mills would serve as a defensive coach for Carolina, and he was sadly diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2003.  He battled the disease and gave an inspirational speech to the team to "keep pounding" as they marched to a Super Bowl XXXVIII appearance.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Acquired: Signed as a Free Agent before the 1995 Season.
  • Departed: Retired after the 1997 Season
  • Games Played: 48
  • Notable Statistics:

    48 Games Started

    7 Interceptions

    86 Interception Return Yards

    1 Interception Return Touchdown

    6 Forced Fumbles

    6 Fumble Recovery Yards

    1 Fumble Recovery Touchdown

    10 Quarterback Sacks

    331 Combined Tackles

    248 Solo Tackles

    83 Assisted Tackles
  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    First Team All-Pro (1996)

    Pro Bowl Selection (1996)
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