Sam Mills III named head coach for East-West Shrine game

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CHARLOTTE - Sam Mills III will serve as a head coach for the 2019 East-West Shrine Game, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Mills, the Panthers’ defensive line coach, will head up the East coaching staff. The 94th annual contest, which features top prospects preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft, will kick off Saturday, January 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. (NFL Network).

Mills and special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn were members of the East coaching staff last season. Panthers offensive quality control coach Drew Terrell will be on Mills' staff this year. Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer will serve as head coach of the West squad.

"It's an honor just to be a part of the game in general, and now I'm really, really excited about being the head coach," Mills said. "I've had a lot of experience on offense, defense and special teams with this game. I've worked with some great coaches."

Mills has been on Carolina’s coaching staff since 2005, working with one of the best defensive lines in the league each of the past eight seasons. He is the son of Sam Mills, a former Panthers linebacker who is the only player inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

"For the Panthers, it gives us an opportunity to have somebody hands-on evaluating all these players," said Mills, who coached current Panthers defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. in the 2017 Shrine Game. "It's great to have an inside guy."

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