Sam Mills Statue, Charlotte
The life-size bronze statue depicts Mills in football uniform with his number 51 emblazoned on the jersey. The pants, stockings and jersey number have been treated to appear gold in color while the rest of the statue has a more natural bronze patina. Mills head is tilted slightly upward to his proper left. The sculptor Todd Andrews included several special details. The helmet under Mills left arm is scratched and scared to depict his physical style of play. Inside the back of the helmet are the names of Mills wife and children and the biblical verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It also has a mouthpiece tucked into the top of the right sock where Mills would put it when he came off the field. The statue stands on a single stone base with a total height of seven and one-half feet.
SAM MILLS / LEADER AND GENTLEMAN / LINEBACKER / CAROLINA PANTHERS 1995-1997
September 26, 1998
35.226410 , -80.851430 View in Geobrowse
Chandler, Charles. “Mills’ Statue Bronze, but Moments Golden,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), September 27, 1998
Yasinskas, Pat. “Heart of a Panther,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), April 19, 2005
“Mike McCormack,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.com, (accessed May 24, 2023) Link
“Mills’ Mouthpiece,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), September 30, 1998
“Sam Mills,” Carolina Panthers, www.panthers.com. (accessed May 26, 2023) Link
“Sam Mills,” Pro Football Hall of Fame,” profootballhof.com, (accessed May 26, 2023) Link
Carolina Panthers football team
Sam Mills was the second person inducted into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor in 1998 after having completed his playing career in 1997. Although not drafted out of college, Mills played 15 years as a professional, earning five Pro Bowl selections. Following his playing career, Mills remained with the Panthers as an assistant coach. In 2003 he was diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live. That same year as the team prepared for the playoffs, he told the team: “When I found I had cancer, there were two things I could do: quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!” Mills would live almost two years longer than predicted, dying in April 2005 at age 45. “Keep pounding” remains a tradition at Panther football games. In 2022 Sam Mills was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The statue stands near an entrance on the east side of Panthers stadium along S. Mint Street in Charlotte, NC.
Six panther sculptures titled “The Indomitable Spirits” are spaced around the stadium along with a statue of former team executive Mike McCormack.