CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was the tweet seen round the football world.
The rumor mill went into an uproar Monday when multiple sources reported the Panthers want to trade WR Steve Smith.
NFL.com, NBC Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Bleacher Report all speculated about the move ahead of the start of free agency Tuesday.
The #Panthers are attempting to trade WR Steve Smith, per source. Given his $7M cap number and age (34), seems unlikely.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2014
Each source cites Ian Rappaport of NFL.com.
Smith, 34, has played for the Carolinas for 13 years. Adding fuel to the fire, Smith's jersey was not available online at the team store Monday. But as Smith said himself, his jersey is getting a makeover.
Fans are debating this all over Carolina Huddle. Check out the conversation here.
As a longtime Panther and Charlottean, Smith is one of the most popular players on the team. Fans are dismayed by reports the team might not keep.
"If you love the Panthers, and you love to win, Steve brings the fire and brings the spirit," said Susan Cayton.
"He's been our best player for a while. and i think there's a gonna be a lot of disappointment and a lot of sadness," said fan Tripp Mazzucco.
Even fellow Panthers acknowledged Smith's popularity Tuesday.
"He means a lot to the community. He means a lot to the fan base here. He lives here. He's spent his whole career here," said Tight End Greg Olsen.