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Stories of Sam: Volume 2

Stories-of-Sam

This summer, the Panthers want to hear your stories of Sam Mills and Keep Pounding. Reach out to us and tell us how Mills and his legacy impacted you in a special way as part of your life and Panthers journey. We will then publish some of the best entries on Panthers.com.

Read the second volume of submissions below. Click here to read the first volume.

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Kim Tait
Blacksburg, S.C.

I remember meeting Sam Mills at one of the hundreds of autograph signings Mark took me to. Sam was one of his absolute favorite players. Mark was also a Saints fan from way back up until the Carolinas got a home team. Once that happened.....Instant fan. Since I never even LIKED football, it took me a bit longer.

Sammie, as Mark always called Mr. Mills, was always humble and friendly. So were so many players on the team the first few years. I looked forward to the signings where Mills was there. He even seemed to enjoy our little green bear....Buzzie.... we would drag with us to autograph sessions and games. And then Mills retired as a player and started being a coach on the sidelines instead of the leader on the field. I was THRILLED for him.

Back then I could make it up to the practice field a lot and always enjoyed saying Good morning to Sammie. Mark could make the weekends. He NEVER lost his friendliness. I remember seeing him jog the practice field right before he passed.....we were all stunned to hear he died. WE KNEW about the cancer......but he didn't look sick and never behaved sick. HE KEPT POUNDING till he could pound no more. One of my most cherished possessions is my signed Sam Mills jersey. Maybe it isn't authentic, but IT is real, and I even wore it when I married Mark.....in 2014.

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Jayland S.
Salisbury, N.C.

My entire family has been Panthers fans since the team was founded in the 1990s. Watching their games was a great way for us to spend time together on game days, and this was on full display in 2003 & 2015. Both of those years are the only two Super Bowl appearances in the franchise's history to date.

I remember 2015 like it was yesterday. Nightlife in Charlotte had reached its pinnacle; Cam Newton had the entire world dabbing, and the team was as energetic as I've ever seen it. After the Panthers ROUTED the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship, I realized that we were reaching rare territory in terms of my fandom. My team legitimately had a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy, and it makes me emotional thinking about it.

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My only sibling Marveo Leon Stofford II treated us all to SB50 jerseys and NFC Championship gear, and we were all so happy! We ordered a bunch of food and had a Super Bowl party at my grandmother's house in Granite Quarry. Although Carolina didn't win, the experience itself and the thrill of being in the position to compete at the highest level was more than enough for me!

Unfortunately, my brother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and passed away in February 2017. Despite his diagnosis, Marveo chose to live his life unapologetically, and he faced his ailments fearlessly. He is by far one of the most courageous individuals that I've had the pleasure of encountering in my 26 years in this world. My family and those who knew him miss him dearly, and Sam Mills' mantra "Keep Pounding" serves as the embodiment of everything my brother was. No matter how tough things got, he always chose to persevere, and this is no different than what Sam Mills & the Carolina Panthers continue to do day in and day out.

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William P.
Dallas, N.C.

October 26, 1993.

That's when my heart turned black and blue and the Carolinas were awarded an NFL franchise that would soon become the Carolina Panthers, and my heart has beaten black and blue ever since.

I love my Carolina team.

I'm 59 years old and recently learned that I have colon cancer. The team and especially Sam Mills have inspired me to Keep Pounding. Two of my doctors are very positive, the other not so, but Sam and his inspiration to Keep Pounding will be in my heart all the way.

Thank you, Sam, for being such an inspiration to so many people, especially me at this time. You were such a good man and such a great player. Keep Pounding.

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Daniel M.
Charlotte, N.C.

In March 1998, I was working at a local deli, and somehow UNC was playing UNCC in the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament, which we had showing on a little 19" TV perched on a table in the dining room.

It was an intense, close game and everyone in the room was fully engaged - and also rooting for UNC to win. Since I didn't have a favorite, I thought it would be cool to see the underdog home kids pull out the upset. As the game entered the second half, the intensity ramped up, and more people gathered around the little TV to the point that I could barely even see what was happening. But as the game went on, it seemed like UNCC had a chance to pull out the win. I got excited and began cheering for them, a lone voice in a sea of groans. In the closing minutes, I suddenly heard another voice cheering, right next to me.

It was Sam Mills.

I didn't know when he got there, but he became my watch buddy, and we cheered and high-fived all the way into OT together. UNC won that game, but I'll never forget Sam Mills rooting for the underdog.

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