CHARLOTTE - Former Panthers linebacker Sam Mills is being recognized for his impact on and off the field, again.
Mills was named to the 2022 class of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday morning.
He's the second Panthers legend in as many years, as native son Julius Peppers was a part of last year's class.
Mills is being recognized alongside Luke Appling, Missouri Arledge, Ronnie Barnes, Henry Bibby, Dan Brooks, Torry Holt, Timmy Newsome, Dave Robbins, and Tom Suiter.
They will be enshrined during the 58th annual induction banquet on April 22, at the Raleigh Convention Center.
"This year's class includes a wide variety of athletic achievement, including professional, collegiate, high school, Olympic sports, and media, with some special contributions," said Dr. Jerry McGee, president of the Hall's Board of Directors. "This class of inductees and their outstanding accomplishments continue to build on the rich sports heritage of North Carolina. We look forward to celebrating these outstanding individuals in our state's sports history."
Mills was born in New Jersey, but captivated Panthers fans upon his arrival here in 1995, where he led the expansion team to the NFC Championship Game in just its second year. His interception of Troy Aikman sealed that first historic playoff win, and after his three years as a player, he transitioned to the coaching staff.
While coaching, Mills was diagnosed with cancer, but never let it keep him from his duties. Prior to a playoff game following the 2003 season, he gave the team the immortal "Keep Pounding" speech, which has since become a mantra for so many throughout the Carolinas in times of adversity.