Home Essex County Former Montclair State Linebacker to Be Inducted Into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Montclair State Linebacker to Be Inducted Into Pro Football Hall of Fame

by Samantha Impaglia
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Whether you’re a Giants or Jets fan, American football is a part of New Jersey culture — and there’s a local who has been awarded high honors for playing the sport. Known as one of the best athletes to come out of Montclair State University, Sam Mills was a linebacker for the Red Hawks football team in the late 1970s and later went on to play professionally. This Saturday, August 6th, he will be posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Read on to learn more about Sam Mills and his legacy at Montclair State.

sam mills montclair state university football pro football hall of fame

Sam Mills’ Red Hawk Legacy

Sam Mills was a member of the Red Hawks football team from 1977-1980 and quickly established himself as a standout player. He was a 4-year New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) All-Star, a 3-time NJ Collegiate Football Writers Defensive Player of the Year, a 3-time ECAC Metropolitan All-Star, and a 2-time All-East selection, as well as a 2-time Co-SIDA All-American and First-Team Kodak All-American. The Jersey Shore native set three Montclair State records during his time there, two of which have yet to be broken — most tackles in a game (22) + tackles in a career (501).

sam mills

(Photo credit: Montclair State University Athletics)

Read More: The Ultimate Montclair Guide for New Montclair State University Students

After being told he was too undersized in his position as a linebacker to play professionally, Sam beat the odds and went on to play for the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers with All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. After raking up 1,300 tackles in the span of his 12-season NFL career until 1997, Sam retired and unfortunately passed in 2004 after a long battle with cancer.

Sam’s jersey number, 62, is only one of two to ever be retired by Montclair State — and he’s the only Red Hawk to be in the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition, a residence hall and a dining hall on campus are named after him. Sam is also a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame as well as the New Jersey, North Carolina, and Louisiana Hall of Fames.

Details of the Induction

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2022 was announced in February during a primetime special from the site of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Sam Mills — alongside other football greats like Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, Le Roy Butler, Richard Seymour, and more — were included among the eight players and staff on the list.

sam mills

(Photo credit: Montclair State University Athletics)

See More: NFL Players Who Have Lived in Hoboken + Jersey City

The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 6th from 12PM – 2:30PM at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Festivities will be taking place all weekend — tickets for the enshrinement as well as ticket packages for the weekend and more information about the event can be found here.

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