New Orleans Saints: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Sam Mills, New Orleans Saints
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images /

Sam Mills. 9. player. 15. . Inside Linebacker. 1986-94

Hey, look at that! Another linebacker. The inclusion of Sam Mills gets us halfway through a star-studded list of linebackers who dominated for the Saints during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Currently second on the Saints’ all-time tackles list, Mills was a man among boys for most of his NFL career. During his nine seasons with the club, he routinely wreaked havoc on opponents as part of the “Dome Patrol” defense that featured some of the best linebackers in team history.

His efforts culminated in four Pro Bowl appearances as a Saint, although he would go on to earn another Pro Bowl trip and his only All-Pro selection with the Carolina Panthers. Either way, his impact with the Saints can’t be questioned. Just ask former New Orleans head coach Jim Mora, who allegedly called Mills the “best player he ever coached.”

The crazy part about Mills’ story is that it took time before he even found his footing in the NFL. Pro scouts originally overlooked the 5-9 linebacker, forcing him to spend time in the CFL and USFL before eventually following Mora to New Orleans.

That’s the type of perseverance that earns you No. 9 on the list of the Saints’ all-time greats.

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