Steve Smith Sr. congratulates Sam Mills on being named Hall of Fame finalist

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  • Carolina Panthers
    Carolina Panthers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Sam Mills
    American football player and coach (1959-2005)
  • Steve Smith Sr.
    Steve Smith Sr.
    American football player

Carolina Panthers all-time leading receiver Steve Smith Sr. was in the company of Sam Mills during the most celebrated moment of his storied football career. And even though he wasn’t in the same company with his fellow franchise legend for another red-letter day, Smith was still there to congratulate him.

On Thursday night, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 15 modern-era finalists for its 2022 class. Among them was the former Panthers linebacker in Mills, who is in his final year of eligibility for a bust in Canton. Not among them, surprisingly and unfortunately, was Smith—who paid tribute to one of his former coaches.

Although Mills played just three of his 12 professional seasons with the Panthers, his impact on the organization will last for multiple lifetimes. His famous “Keep Pounding” speech during the team’s 2003 run to Super Bowl XXXVIII—a journey Smith was apart of in his third season—has become the beloved mantra for the franchise.

So, whether he’s bronzed in Ohio or not, Mills will always be golden in Carolina. The same goes for Smith, who will assuredly get another shot at winding up where he also belongs.

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