CARDS: Star Pics 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991, Score Supplemental 1991, Pacific 1991, Pro Set 1991
ACQUIRED: TTM 2021, C/o Home. TTM 2016, C/o Home.
SENT: 4/22/21 RECEIVED: 1/19/22 (272 days)
SENT: 10/7/17 RECEIVED: 9/17/22 (1806 days)
- Ernie Mills played WR for the Florida Gators from 1987-90.
- Posted 81 receptions for 1585 yards, a whopping 19.6 yards per reception, and 15 TDs over 4 years in Gainesville.
- Best year for the Gators came in his Senior year, when he had 41 receptions for 770 yards and 10 TDs.
- Originally started as a DB but quickly transitioned to WR, hauling in his first career reception of 49 yards from Florida QB legend Kerwin Bell.
- Selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round of the 1991 NFL Draft.
- Mills spent his time on special teams and started two games at WR his rookie year.
- He’d finish first in special teams tackles, and scored his first TD on a punt that hit the opposing team’s blocking back. (See Eugene Lockhart)
- But things never really materialized for Ernie in Pittsburgh, who had a nascent passing attack, and he was battling for a roster spot with other fresh WRs, Chris Calloway and Jeff Graham.
- He had his best season in Pittsburgh in 1995, catching 39 passes for 679 yards and 8 TDs.
- It was a titanic year actually for Ernie as he quietly put up 2,024 all-purpose yards, including 1,304 on kick returns.
- He’d be injured during Super Bowl XXX, tearing his ACL and being lost for most of the following 1996 campaign.
- In 1997, Ernie signed with the Carolina Panthers and played one season for them.
- The final two years of his career were spent in Dallas, as a key roleplayer for the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Chan Gailey, whom he’d played for previously in Pittsbugh.
- Mills was oft injured, but still managed to post solid numbers as a reliable #3 option behind Michael Irvin and Rocket Ismail.
- After a brief hiatus from the sport, Mills was spotted at Jacksonville University coaching WRs with his former college QB Kerwin Bell, holding the position from 2007-2012.
- Then he coached WRs at Florida A&M from 2013-2015.
Well, there’s Ernie Mills, with an incredibly long orbital trajectory. I had given up on Ernie basically on two separate occasions, but after noticing a few successes, I figured the one for 2021 was in the works to return to me. After some patient waiting, it indeed finally came through, and I added the Action Packed Rookies 1991 card finally to my collection.
Ernie frustrated me as he tended to sign in spurts, sometimes responding to people immediately, while on other occasions-such as mine, languished in wait. I was pretty happy to get the entry sent out in 2021 back early in 2022, but lo and behold, some 8 months after that, the original entry I sent from 2017, also arrived, rocketing up the longest wait charts officially to #5, at a cool 1806 days.
I don’t talk about Pacific 1991 enough right? To me the set was a bold design choice, but quite laughable. For some reason, it just stood out as being… simplistic, with the gradient and the 1970s style typeface. The back was again bold, but a bit wild, as the entire canvas of information was set at a 45 degree angle! I thought that the photo on this Pacific card really nailed it, so I thought it’d make a nice card to get autographed.
With these cards, I can firmly close the door on Ernie. I love his autograph. Well worth the wait and very original. A strong ‘E’, ‘M’, and ‘S’ punctuate his unique signature with great stroke, pen pressure, and placement.