April 17, 2005 - Sam Mills (b. 1959), American football player died at 45. Samuel Davis "Sam" Mills, Jr. was an American football linebacker who played twelve seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints & Carolina Panthers. Mills died at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mills' number 51 was retired by the Panthers at the start of the 2005 NFL season, making it the first number the franchise has retired. He is buried at Monmouth Memorial Park, Tinton Falls, New Jersey.