Players all around the world often write inspirational messages on their shoes or on wristbands that they wear during their games to gain motivation during their competitive contests. It serves as something that the players can take pride in and something that players can look at to put in that extra effort.
Well, Nike has taken that into consideration when it comes to designing the Carolina Panthers‘ new jerseys.
As you can see from the photo above, a hidden message lies on the inside collar of their jerseys for next season. It reads, “KEEP POUNDING” and it honors one of their former linebackers and assistant coaches, the late Sam Mills.
Sam Mills played with the Panthers during their first season’s in the league and retired in 1997 after a long, successful 12-year career in the NFL. He then became a defensive assistant coach with the team after his retirement and was soon promoted to linebackers coach in 1999. Prior to the Panthers’ 2003 Super Bowl run Mills was diagnosed with intestinal cancer but he continued to coach while undergoing chemotherapy.
Just before Carolina’s divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, Mills gave a rousing, inspirational speech in which he delivered this line:
“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do — quit or keep pounding,” Mills said. “I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!”
The Panthers carried their goosebumps into that game and eventually beat the Cowboys 29-10, sparking a run all the way to an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl appearance.
Mills passed away two years later but his “KEEP POUNDING” message has lived on since and been a battle cry for the team and for cancer research. A fund started by Mills and former linebacker Mark Fields continues to raise money for cancer research and awareness in the Charlotte area.
This is a great move by Nike to honor one of the greatest players in Panther’s history and to give an inspirational nod to his rousing speech.