Mills will now serve as a game management coach to assist head coach Ron Rivera "clock management, replay challenges and other situational football analysis," the Panthers announced Wednesday. Entering his 15th season with the Panthers' coaching staff, including the last eight as a defensive line coach, Mills provides plenty of knowledge to help Rivera.
"Sam sees the game from a different perspective," Rivera said in a statement, via the Panthers' official website. "He's very interested in how the league operates, how the game operates. By that I mean he's a guy that pays attention to the rules, he pays attention to replay and he understands time management and score management."
Rivera recently stated the importance of evolving as a team, and Mills' additional role is a step in that direction. An assistant helping out a head coach with in-game responsibilities is found around the league, with Bob Sutton's hiring as a senior defensive assistant in Atlanta a recent example. Additionally, Rivera comes from the Andy Reid tree, and Reid has often brought in veteran coaches to serve as consultants over the years, including former Nevada head coach Chris Ault to help out with the offense and Brad Childress as a spread game analyst.