Panther’s Sam Mills posthumously inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame ::

— Sam Mills, the 5-foot-9 linebacker nicknamed “Field Mouse” throughout his 12-year profession with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, was inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday.

An inspirational determine, Mills overcame great odds to even attain the NFL.

Mills performed Division III school soccer and was not drafted. He was reduce by the Cleveland Browns and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and commenced his skilled profession with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars. Jim Mora, who coached the Stars, introduced him to New Orleans in 1986 and Mills by no means seemed again.

“He was instructed he wasn’t adequate to play school soccer or large enough to play skilled soccer and on the age of 27, he wasn’t younger sufficient to play within the NFL and but right here we’re as we speak celebrating,” stated Melanie Mills, Sam’s widow.

Mills made 1,265 tackles, had 23 fumble recoveries, compelled 22 fumbles, had 20 1/2 sacks and intercepted 11 passes in 12 seasons. He additionally was half of the primary 4 playoff groups in Saints historical past and the primary in Panthers historical past.

Mills grew to become an assistant coach with the Panthers after his retirement. He was recognized with intestinal most cancers earlier than the 2003 season however saved teaching throughout his therapy and made what is called his “Keep pounding” speech on the eve of the membership’s Super Bowl matchup with New England on the finish of that season.

Mills died in April 2005 at age 45. His “Keep pounding” stays the Panthers’ tag line.

LeRoy Butler additionally leapt into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the identical enthusiasm he celebrated large performs at Lambeau Field.

The four-time All-Pro security was the primary of eight members of the Class of 2022 enshrined Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“DJ Khaled stated it finest: ‘God did,'” Butler started, referencing the track. “When you play for the Green Bay Packers, rather a lot of doorways open up. When you win a Super Bowl, extra doorways open up. When you are picked for the Hall of Fame, soccer heaven opens up. It’s uncommon firm.”

Butler drew cheers from Jaguars followers in attendance to see Tony Boselli’s induction when he talked about rising up in Jacksonville.

“Thank you, Duval,” Butler stated. “My mother, rising up in poverty, she made us assume wealthy each day as a result of it is not about what you could have on or what you could have, it is the way you act.”

Butler helped restore Green Bay’s glory days throughout a 12-year profession. His versatility as a security set the usual for a brand new wave on the place and earned him a spot on the league’s All-Decade crew of the Nineteen Nineties.

Butler originated the “Lambeau Leap” and had a key sack in Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory over New England. He fell simply quick of turning into the primary participant in league historical past to complete his profession with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks.

In a 12 months with no first-ballot candidates, the inductees endured lengthy waits to make the Hall.

Defensive deal with Richard Seymour did not wait too lengthy to style success within the NFL. He was half of three Super Bowl championship groups in his first 4 seasons with the New England Patriots.

Seymour identified the defensive stalwarts on these groups however didn’t point out Tom Brady by title.

“We had a younger quarterback, however we made it work,” Seymour stated, drawing chuckles from the group.

Seymour had 57 1/2 profession sacks in 12 seasons, the primary eight in New England earlier than ending his profession with the Oakland Raiders.

“I’m overwhelmed with humility as a result of it is not about what this says about me however what it says about us and what we are able to do collectively,” he stated. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude as a result of I did not get right here alone. None of us did. None of us might have.”

The 42-year-old Seymour choked up thanking his spouse, Tanya.

“Football is what I do, however household is who I’m,” he stated. “Thank you for all the things you added to my life. This day belongs to my household. Scripture teaches that your riches are in your loved ones.”

Seymour known as his three kids his “best pleasure.”

“Of all the things I achieved, there isn’t any larger honor than being your dad,” he stated.

Seymour praised Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft and former Raiders proprietor Al Davis and his son, Mark Davis.

He credited his success to the teachings he discovered from Patriots coach Bill Belichick: work exhausting, be meticulous in your preparation, help your teammates and respect your opponents.

“This would not have occurred if it weren’t for Coach Belichick,” Seymour stated.

Longtime head of officiating Art McNally gave a video speech after he was inducted as a contributor.


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