Sam Mills posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame


“He was told he wasn’t good enough to play college football or big enough to play pro football and at age 27 he wasn’t young enough to play in the NFL, and yet we celebrate today”

These are the words of Melanie Mills, who introduced her husband Sam in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, with the man who brought Mills to the NFL, former New Orleans Saints coach and Indianapolis head coach Jim Mora.

Sam Mills was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Born in Neptune City, Mills grew up in Long Branch and attended Long Branch High School and then Montclair State where he earned Division III All-American honors and still holds the team record for career tackles 40 years after graduating.

Undrafted Mills began a journey that would see him cut by the Cleveland Browns and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, then find success with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL where his head coach Jim Mora would then take him to New Orleans Saintes.

Over the next 12 years, Mills would play 181 career games with 173 starts and total over 1,300 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 11 interceptions and 22 forced fumbles. He was named to five Pro Bowls and once as a first-team All-Pro.

Sam Mill’s wife at her husband’s posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame. (NFL via YouTube)

Sam Mill’s wife, Melanie, at her husband’s posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame. (NFL via YouTube)

After nine years in New Orleans, Mills jumped to the expansion Carolina Panthers where, in three seasons, he started all 48 regular season games and both games in the 1996 playoffs, when the sophomore team reached the NFC Championship Game, falling to an eventual Super. Winner of the Green Bay Bowl.

Mills remained with Carolina as an assistant coach when his playing career ended. In 2003, he was diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live.

Mills gave an emotional speech as the Panthers prepared for the playoffs, telling the team, “When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do: stop or keep playing. to beat. I am a fighter. I kept beating. You are also fighters. Keep beating!”

Mills would live 17 months longer than doctors predicted, dying in April 2005 at age 45.

“There can be no better place for him to rest than in the Hall of Fame,” said Melanie Mills.

Philadelphia Eagles, St Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch, San Francisco 49er defensive end Bryant Young, Jaguars offensive tackle from Jacksonville NFL official Tony Boselli was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today. Art McNally. Richard Seymour, defensive tackle for the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, and LeRoy Butler, solid goaltender for the Green Bay Packer.

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