Over the years Steve Smith has been described as the face of the franchise, and the heart and soul of the team.
His future as a Carolina Panther has mired in swirl, spin, and damage control, but one of those he shares the field with doesn't want him to go.
Tight End Greg Olsen speaks of a close bond.
"It's hard, Olsen said." He's meant so much to this team. He's meant so much to this organization. His play speaks for itself. I have a great relationship with Steve. You never want to see someone like that leave."
Former Panther-turned-talk-show-host Frank Garcia who played with Smith is also weighing in, and feels that his future is tied to changes in the team's front office.
"Sometimes you have to pay the price of doing business, and I feel like that's keeping Steve Smith," Garcia said.
However, many callers to his show are hoping for an outcome that will keep fans behind the team.
"I want to start off by saying that Smitty is my favorite Panther of all time," one caller said.
Another caller stated, "The fact of the matter is the guy had a key impact to Carolina Football period."
Number 89's fate is being debated throughout social media.
Facebook now carries a Save Steve Smith page, and on shirts bearing the same slogan can be found on twitter.
Billy Acquario own tavern on the tracks and has Smitty on the wall and his signature right above the bar.
"Smith has been one of the biggest players this team has ever had. It seems disappointing the way this whole thing has gone down."
Greg Olsen seems to agree with that.
"You almost never want to see guys like that have to go."
Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard