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Sam Mills

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints News Ex-Saint Mills deserves Dome recognition Tuesday October 14, 2003 John DeShazier He's very private these days, guarding his space with the determination he used to defend turf in the Superdome from 1986 to 1994. It's strange because Sam ...

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Old 10-14-2003, 09:55 AM   #1
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Sam Mills

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Ex-Saint Mills deserves Dome recognition



Tuesday October 14, 2003


John DeShazier


He's very private these days, guarding his space with the determination he used to defend turf in the Superdome from 1986 to 1994.

It's strange because Sam Mills always has been affable and approachable, a man you'd gravitate to because you knew he was genuine through and through, who carried himself with the kind of class that made him stand out even as he tried to be one of the boys.


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Maybe he's walling himself off because he feels it's necessary, because he doesn't want to burden the people who care about him. Mills, who was diagnosed with cancer in his small intestine and liver in August, is a proud man who likely has reasoned that isolation from all except a select few will allow him to concentrate even more on his health while causing the least amount of fuss.

Which means he certainly would want no part of what is being suggested in this space -- that the five-person committee that decides membership for the Superdome's Wall of Honor votes to add Mills, a retired linebacker and current linebackers coach with Carolina.

Not because he's ill, but because he warrants inclusion and should receive his due while he can enjoy it.

No Saint was more important than Mills during his nine seasons in New Orleans. From 1986-94, he quarterbacked a defense that was the most potent and productive in franchise history, and the numbers (four Pro Bowl trips and four playoff appearances with the Saints) support that claim. He played another three years with Carolina, earned another Pro Bowl appearance, helped the Panthers reach the NFC Championship Game in 1996 and finished his 12-year career with 1,319 tackles, 20 ½ sacks, 11 interceptions, four touchdowns and 173 starts in 181 games.

But numbers are dwarfed by Mills as a person. Trust Jim Mora, the winningest coach in Saints history, when he says he never coached a better player and hasn't had the pleasure of being around many people of the same caliber.

Both of Mills' NFL teams know his impact went beyond tackles and sacks and stretched to his willingness to serve the community and mentor young teammates. The Panthers, for Mills' three years of service, erected a life-sized bronze statue of him outside Ericsson Stadium and placed his name on the Hall of Honor inside the stadium, the first Carolina player so honored.

The intangibles stack so much higher than the tangibles, they alone might be grounds to have Mills' name honored alongside former Saints greats Archie Manning and Rickey Jackson, Superdome "father" Dave Dixon, Bayou Classic founder and coaching legend Eddie Robinson, basketball phenom Pete Maravich and former Saints general manager Jim Finks, the architect of the teams on which Mills enjoyed so much success.

The Saints franchise, we assume, should have no objections. He already is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

The assumption is that, though the franchise has no vote, owner Tom Benson could and should wield whatever influence he has by endorsing Mills' addition to the Wall of Honor.

That, hopefully, would make the path fairly clear.

. . . . . . .
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Old 10-14-2003, 10:02 AM   #2
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Sam Mills

AMEN!
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Old 10-14-2003, 10:05 AM   #3
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Sam Mills

that the five-person committee that decides membership for the Superdome\'s Wall of Honor votes to add Mills, a retired linebacker and current linebackers coach with Carolina.
There is NO QUESTION that this should be done. I am suprised it hasn\'t happened already.
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Old 10-14-2003, 10:15 AM   #4
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Sam Mills

Agreed! This should happen.
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