METAIRIE, La. - The late Sam Mills will take his official place of honor in New Orleans Saints lore during the team's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Saints will hold a ceremony during halftime of their Dec. 2 contest against the Dallas Cowboys revealing Mills' name in the Ring of Honor at the Caesars Superdome. Mills will join owner Tom Benson, kicker Morten Anderson, linebacker Rickey Jackson, quarterback Archie Manning, offensive tackle William Roaf and defensive end Will Smith in the Ring of Honor.
The Saints signed Mills in 1986, and he and went on to assert himself as one of the best players ever to wear the black and gold. He averaged more than 100 tackles per season in his nine years manning the middle of the Saints defense.
He was an integral part of what is considered one of the greatest linebacker corps in NFL history, known as the vaunted "Dome Patrol," teaming up with Jackson, Pat Swilling and Vaughan Johnson to give New Orleans one of the NFL's fiercest defensive units.
In his nine seasons with the Saints, Mills made four Pro Bowls and was twice named a consensus All Pro.
Former Saints coach Jim Mora, who coached Mills both in the defunct USFL and in the NFL with the Saints, said this about Mills in an interview last summer.
"I’m fortunate to have been around a lot of good football players," Mora said. "Some of them are in the Hall of Fame from the Saints — Rickey Jackson, Willie Roaf, Morten Anderson. I was with Marvin Harrison when I was in Indianapolis. Peyton (Manning) is going to be a first-ballot (Hall of Famer).
"I’m not going to say Sam was the best I’ve ever coached, but he was among the best I’ve ever coached."
Mills signed with the Panthers late in his career, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors at age 37 in 1996 when he recorded 122 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks.
The Panthers erected a statue of Mills outside Bank of America Stadium, and Mills is responsible for the team's motto, "Keep pounding," which is stitched on the inside of the team's uniforms. He is already in the Panthers' Ring of Honor.
Mills died in 2005 as a result of complications from intestinal cancer. He was 45.
He has been a finalist each of the last two years for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and is currently a nominee for the 2022 class.
Mills is already a member of four Halls of Fame: the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (1992), the Saints Hall of Fame (1998), the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (2001), and the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey (2003).