- Category : 1959-births
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Consciousness 2
American black pro football player. Nicknamed "Field Mouse," at 5’ 9" and 225 lbs. he was one of the smallest linebackers to play professional football in the NFL. Regarded as one of the savviest players in the game, Mills played for 15 years before retiring in 1997.
After attending Montclair State in NJ, Mills was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns 5/03/1981. After being cut from the team, he tried again with the Argonauts of the CFL but once again was let go. Giving up on his dream to play professional football, he got a job teaching woodworking and photography at a high school in New Jersey. A try-out for the newly formed USFL later led to him winning a starting position for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints under the guidance of coach Jim Mora. Mills was with the Saints from 1987-95 and went to the Pro Bowl four times.
Released by the Saints in 1995, the Carolina Panthers chose him as a starter and made him the cornerstone of their defense. Although some criticized the team’s management for signing an undersized 36-year old player, Mills proved his worth. Explosive, mobile, strong and intelligent, he made an interception return that led the team to their first win ever during the 1995 season. In 1996, another interception by Mills sealed the team’s victory and took them into the playoffs. Along with displaying leadership on the field, his exemplary work habits inspired his teammates. He appeared in his final Pro Bowl in 1996, and on 9/27/1998, Mills was inducted into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor.
During his 15 years as a linebacker as of 1997, Mills has played for the Toronto Argonauts for the Canadian league, Baltimore, New Orleans Saints, Caroline Panthers, finally announcing his retirement 12/20/1997. He is noted for being one of the top linebackers with a high amount of sacks and fumble recoveries. Mills has played in the USFL championship games in the 1983 and '85 seasons and has played in the NFC championship game in the 1996 season.
In 1993, he developed a severe staph infection in his knee. It was not known whether he would be able to walk again, and he thought his football career was over. After a two-week hospitalization and a course of antibiotics, he recovered, and after missing only seven games, Mills was healthy and back on the football field.
On April 18, 2005, the 45-year-old former linebacker and coach died at his home in Charlotte, NC after battling intestinal cancer. He had been diagnosed with the disease in August 2003.