Outside the Carolina Panthers‘ home stadium, you’ll find a statue of the late and great Sam Mills, a legendary linebacker known as the “field mouse” and member of a New Orleans Saints unit known as the “Dome Patrol.”
Yesterday Nike replaced Reebok as the brand supplier for the NFL, and with it changes to all 32 teams’ uniforms. For Carolina, the collar of the jerseys will be stitched with the phrase “KEEP POUNDING.”
Prior to the team’s run to the 2003 Super Bowl, Mills was diagnosed with cancer, yet continued to work while receiving chemotherapy. A player on that team, Mark Fields, was sitting out the season after his own cancer diagnosis.
Before the team’s divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, Mills delivered a rousing speech.
“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!”
The Panthers won that game, surely with some goosebumps on their arms.
Mills died two years later, but the team and the city has kept his message alive. A fund started by Mills and former Panthers linebacker Mark Fields continues to raise money for research and awareness in the Charlotte area. The Panthers weight room features a mural with Mills’ picture and two-word mantra.
Fields after returned to the NFL after his Hodgkin’s disease was in remission to make the 2005 Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, his Hodgkin’s returned the next year and he didn’t play another down in the NFL.
Today, he is a partner owner of a Real estate Company Rose and Fields in Avondale, Arizona.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks