New Panthers jerseys pay tribute to Sam Mills

There’s much to like about the new Nike-manufactured NFL uniforms, notwithstanding the Seahawks’ new psychedelic Rollerball ensemble.

The thing I like most about the jerseys will never be seen during a game.

As pointed out by Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, the phrase “KEEP POUNDING” is stitched into the interior trim of the neck area on the new Panthers jerseys.

It was a phrase used by the late Sam Mills, a Panthers linebacker and assistant coach who died of cancer in 2005.  Per Fowler, Mills gave a stirring pre-game speech the night before a 2003 playoff win over the Cowboys.

“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do — quit or keep pounding,” Mills said.  “I’m a fighter.  I kept pounding.  You’re fighters, too.  Keep pounding.”

Years after Mills’ passing, it’s great that he’s still remembered.  And it’s incredible that the team saw fit to do so by including the “KEEP POUNDING” message inside every jersey that every member of the team will wear.

81 responses to “New Panthers jerseys pay tribute to Sam Mills

  1. That is very cool. Mills was an extremely inspirational player, and it’s apropos that they’d remember him in this way.

  2. It’s amazing the impact that Mills made on Jerry Richardson and the entire Panthers organization. He only played three years there but is in their ring of honor and even has a freaking statue outside their stadium. Pretty incredible that his presence is still felt.

  3. Be careful Panthers. Goodell may fine you for using violent language and inciting your players to actually hit someone hard.

    Have you run this by Goodell?

  4. Sam Mills – Member of the Dome Patrol

    The chicks on this site would complain that he tried to knock opposing players out of the game. It’s a shame.

  5. Very classy move the Panthers and Nike. Great player. Even better person. He deserves to be in Canton

  6. Amazing the players are gonna see that before every game, thats awesome, I’d love for my team to have something like that.

  7. As a guy who idolized Sam Mills from his time in high school growing up next to Long Branch, my level of respect went up a ton. He’s the reason I became a Saints fan as a kid loving the Dome Patrol. His black Saints #51 jersey was the only one I owned. Classy, classy move Carolina/Nike.

  8. That’s the best thing about all of these new Jerseys in my opinion. I’m not sure what other teams may have but being a Panther fan that’s pretty inspirational.

  9. The Panthers uniforms are terrible – worst or tied with the Jags for worst in the NFL – but this is a classy, cool thing to do. Kudos.

  10. A very cool and classy gesture.

    And the first time I can ever say that about anything the swoosh has ever been associated with.

  11. Lovin it. Sam played for Philly Stars USFL team and he has never been forgotten by Philly fans.

  12. Very classy and a great tribute for a great man.
    Was an awesome player, and he had a bright future ahead in the coaching ranks as well. If your ever at a Panther game, you can find his statue next to the North Gate. Sam’s legacy lives on with the KEEP POUNDING Fund at Carolinas Medical Center with procedes going toward cancer research. Contributions are generated through team fundraisers, the assistance of team partners and valued donations from community organizations and individuals.

  13. Wow, very classy thing for the Panthers and Nike to do. Seven years laters, he’s not forgotten.

    Reading that story sent a chill up my spine.

  14. beavertonsteve says:
    Apr 3, 2012 4:13 PM
    Apparently the Colt’s jerseys have “quit” stitched in them…

    I’d bet that it just has Irsay’s twitter handle instead…

  15. I hear the Colts stitched “Not Peyton” on the Quarterback Jersey”

    The Jets had “What would Tebow Do?”and/or “Strugga-ling” – Joe Namath

  16. Awesome. I’m not a Panther fan, but I went to Montclair State the same time as Sam Mills and have always been a fan. Classy move by the organization.

  17. As a Saints fan, I love seeing Sam Mills remembered. Dome Patrol was simply magnificent.

  18. It wouldn’t be a Florio story if he didn’t throw in an underhanded remark about the Seahawks. In the first sentence, no less.

  19. very classy move i personally have always preferred nike over reebok. now wheres the OAK jerseys with a JUST WIN BABY! for AL!!

  20. Mills is one of the few USFL players I remember. He played for Philadelphia and i believe won a few championships there. Mora brought him to the NFL and he had a very good career.

    Nice to seethe Panthers do the right thing. Richardson may be a nut close to Ralph Wilson proportions, a pretty vindictive mean fellow and have a huge ego the size of Jerry Jones but it does not mean he cannot occasionally do something very good or nice. Kudos to him and the Panthers.

    The message has to be very inspirational to the Panther players.

  21. My years as season ticket holder spanned all of Sam’s years in New Orleans. He was the smallest, slowest, least-talented, least-paid linebacker on a team loaded with great linebackers in a league where size and speed really do matter. He was the best of the bunch. He was always around the ball, always in position, and always making the play. It was he who almost always led the team in tackles, not those bigger, faster, higher-paid guys. He was also a genuinely good guy. That was a bit of a rarity even in his playing days. He should have retired a Saint. Blame that on the Saints, though, not Mills. RIP, Sam.

    Good Job, Carolina.

  22. Sam Mills was part of the best group of 4 linebackers to ever play together.

    “The Dome Patrol”
    Sam Mills
    Ricky Jackson
    Vaughn Johnson
    Pat Swilling

  23. @nowillrepeat,

    just like how Gregg Williams will always be Saint. Yall really are some turds down there ya know?

    A town known for voodoo and sin is given a devastating hurricane, then your town decides to call your qb “Breesus” and now yall are laughing stock of the NFL again because ya cheat.

    Show some goodness and humility once in your life and maybe bad things will stop happening to you.

  24. Classy, touching and in good taste! Unfortunately for Panthers fans, I have a feeling by about half way through the season they’re going to be wondering what the team is pounding.

  25. @jakek2….


    Great gesture by the Panthers. It feels good to get this kind of story for once. Good job Carolina!

  26. Sam Mills wasn’t big in size, but his heart & soul was that of a giant! I’ll always remember him…I’m a Bronco fan from the Carolinas..that makes Carolina my 2nd, or co-1st fav. team. Carolina came to be when I was die hard Elway fan!

  27. I dig this a lot. I live in the same town that Sam grew up in(Long Branch, NJ). Sam was definitely an inspiration to everybody here!!

  28. “Psychedelic Rollerball”

    I haven’t seen the Seahawks jerseys, but now I must have one. (I assume we’re talking the James Caan Rollerball.)

  29. @hengenberger

    Not a raiders fan, but that would be a dope collar stitch for their uniforms. Al is def a legend worth doing that for

  30. The Panthers’ owner, Jerry Richardson, is a blowhard who was a detriment to labor negotiations, and toes the line of being racist at times. But this move drips with class. It’s a great homage to a legendary Panther, and the fact that it’s stitched into the neckband shows that it’s not for the media attention. It’s just a heartfelt tribute to an inspirational player and man.

  31. nowillrepeat says:
    Apr 3, 2012 4:36 PM
    Sam Mills is and always will be a Saint. Get your our history panthers.

    I’ll look past your confusing attempt at grammar and say that I do think that if Mills ever gets the bust in Canton he should have gotten long ago, he will be listed mainly as a Saint. That being said, he made a very big impact in a short time here in Carolina. He was one of the 2 best players on a 7-9 expansion team (Kevin Greene was the other), and he was the linebackers coach of a Super Bowl team in ’03, even as he was battling intestinal cancer. The “keep pounding” speech became the name of a charity that is still in operation. He embraced his new community and we embraced him. He earned that statue outside our stadium.

    So let’s not argue over whether he should be remembered as a Saint or a Panther. Let’s just remember him as a should-be Hall of Famer who was a great player and an even greater man.

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