What Does Keep Pounding Mean?

Carolina Panthers Keep Pounding

“You have your good days and your bad days. I am just glad I am having days, you know?”- Sam Mills

What Does Keep Pounding Mean?

In 2003, Sam Mills, a 5-time ProBowler and key member of the ’96 Panthers’ run to the NFC Championship game, was diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer and given only a few months to live.

While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Mills, then linebacker coach for the Panthers, decided to continue coaching instead of hiding his pain in the comfort of his own home. Mills explained that he was inspired by the team’s play on the field, and it was obvious that the 2003 Panthers drew strength from Mills too. They continued to do so into the playoffs where they would play the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. It was here, before that game, that Mills would deliver his infamous “Keep Pounding” speech.

“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do – quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!”

No truer words have been spoken from a man so brave. Mills injected heart, soul and passion into the Panthers and truly showed just how far it could take you. Mills went on to live for nearly two years, long surpassing the months the doctors would give him, coaching much of the way. He would later die in April of 2005 in his Charlotte, NC home at the age of 45.

The Panthers, both players and fans alike, keep the mentality of Sam Mills, and celebrate it every time they take the field. Before every home game, there is a brief ceremony where someone tied to the Panther bangs the “Keep Pounding” drum, almost like a war cry. The phrase, “Keep Pounding” is forever on each player while they are on the field, as it is stitched on the collar of their uniforms. Sam Mills was the heart and soul of the 2003 Carolina Panthers, and his legacy will remain the heart and soul of Panthers Nation going forward. Live by it, die by it and never forget it. Go Panthers, Keep Pounding!

“KEEP POUNDING. On offense. On Defense. On special teams. ON EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY.”

-Sam Mills

23 thoughts on “What Does Keep Pounding Mean?

  1. Anonymous

    Wow! That is a great read!! I already knew the story but I like how you put it! Keep up the good work on that blog!

    Keep Pounding!

    1. Mike Bogaert Post author

      Thank you! I started the blog for fun and to share my thoughts/feelings on the Panthers, but I have gotten great feedback from readers, and that makes it much easier to write. Thanks for reading and for the feedback. If you have requests for anything else you’d like to see on the blog, just reach out to @Keep_Pounding on Twitter! #GoPanthers #KeepPounding

      1. raymond

        hello Mike, I am a football addict, and love the panthers. I want to know is there a place where I can find the KEEP POUNDING speech, in any form

  2. Mike Bogaert Post author

    Hi Raymond. First off, thanks for reading, it really means a lot. As far as I know, there is no place to watch the actual speech itself because it was a pre-game talk in the locker room. There may be transcripts available somewhere online, but I have not found a full one yet. You will be able to come across random quotes from it, which is where I got the ones from this piece.

  3. fromthisseat

    Sam Mills was the only player to start every game during the Panthers first three seasons and was a part of their first playoff team and the first and only Panthers player to have his jersey retired. Not bad for a former walk on at Montclair State University that the CFL told was too small to play football. Keep Pounding!

    1. Mike Bogaert Post author

      Thanks for reading! I couldn’t agree more. The guy was outstanding on the field, and while he gets a lot of credit for inspiring players, he doesn’t get enough credit for inspiring the fan base as well. His words speak as much about life as they speak about playing football. “Keep Pounding” is a motto everyone could live their life by.

  4. Anonymous

    Good Day,

    My name is DJ and I am currently a student at the University of San Francisco. I am currently conducting a study on NFL players’ ethical transgressions and would love your thoughts and opinions (especially concerning the updated status of Greg Hardy). If you have 5-10 minutes, just follow the link below and answer the questions. Thanks!


  5. American Sports Legacy

    Truly inspiring! To me, that is what sports is all about. We need daily reminders to keep pounding and never give up. We can achieve our dreams if we dare to step up to the plate and get after it. Motivated!

    1. Mike Bogaert Post author

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Sam Mills was a great player and even better man. True heart of a warrior both on and off the field. His words and memories will never be forgotten!

  6. Gwane Martin (@gwanedm)

    in 2003 the Panthers honored both Sam Mills and Mark Fields. They all wore t-shirts under their jerseys with the number 51 and 58 on them. I wonder what happened to Mark Fields because he had a form of cancer as well

    1. Mike Bogaert Post author

      Hi Gwane, thanks for reading and taking the time to reply. Fields was every bit as pivotal to the whole “Keep Pounding” movement, but is commonly overlooked. Fields had Hodgkins Disease that caused him to have to retire from the NFL, but he is still living. From what I could find, he is living in Arizona and his son recently signed to play at Clemson!

    1. Mike Bogaert Post author

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. I didn’t realize he was a finalist, but no one deserves it more. Not only was his play exceptional on the field, but he has transformed an entire organization his his heart.


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