Is a Steve Smith Return to Carolina in the Works?

 Steve Smith

80s Big Hair band Cinderella said it best, “Don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”  Well Panthers fans loved who they had and love what they lost, Carolina legend and greatest all-time offensive player, Steve Smith.  Like any break-up with a true love, things didn’t go well when Carolina parted ways with Smitty last season.  Like any break-up with a true love, we continue to Facebook and Twitter stalk our lost love.  Well love may just prevail if there is truth to this tweet that Carolina is working to bring Steve Smith home:

Above is a tweet that @TigerPanthrHeat captured. Many contend that this tweet is fraudulent, claiming that it looks photoshopped or even created by a fake tweet generating website. 

The Panther fan who captured the tweet defends it’s authenticity:

I personally think Panther fans are of high character and integrity, but remember, C3 does not report news, we comment on it.  We’ll let the journalists work to verify the sources completely but hey let’s just say, “I want to believe.”  

There are a few things that lend to the tweet’s credibility.  

  1. The Twitter verified blue check.  I mean that is the gold standard in the Twitter world, right? I went and tried to generate a fake tweet to see if the blue verified check would be included and it was not. Now the blue check could have been Photoshopped in, but that would take more effort than simply plugging the text into a fake tweet generator. The retweeters do look a little shady though.

  2. Steve Smith has a history of deleting tweets. He once told a reporter Charlotte reporter his article sucked and later deleted the tweet

  3. The fan risks exile from Panther Nation if this was a joke. You don’t mess with a man’s heart!  But right now, he is stating it is legit, so until proven otherwise.

  4. At this point, the delete tweet is all we have to go on.  All news coming out of Baltimore indicates Smith’s return for a 15th professional season.  The circumstances of Smith’s return, however, weren’t certain from the beginning. Baltimore encouraged Smith to take three weeks and think it over.  Head coach Jim Harbaugh also indicated that Smith would be used in a lesser capacity in the future, stating “He doesn’t have to be [in] a role where he’s playing every snap or anything like that, but he looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to me. So, hopefully we can … It’s up to Steve, really, in the end – how he feels and if he thinks he can do it physically.”  As Baltimore lost Torrey Smith to free agency, it does seem odd that the Ravens would go forward without any receivers at all, but Carolina did do it last season. 

If Steve Smith were to return home to Carolina

  1. It would immediately legitimize Carolina’s receiving core:  Adding Steve Smith, who showed he plenty of gas in the tank, would legitimize the Carolina passing attack. It would allow guys like Philly Brown and Ted Ginn to play roles they are best suited.  He would demand enough respect and play-making ability, giving Kelvin Benjamin the space and opportunity to do real damage against opposing secondaries. 
  2. Bring back a fighting spirit for the offense.  Carolina showed tremendous resiliency down the stretch last season. The defense, again, was at the heart of this turn-around.  Carolina’s offense never seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. Even in the blowout win over the Saints, the team dominated on the ground with Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton, but Kelvin Benjamin seemed to struggle.  The offense fought hard, but adding the fiery Steve Smith would add a real grit that is needed to win in the NFL.
  3. Bring fan excitement to a new level: Carolina fans worked hard to dismiss the rhetoric that the team would take a step back in 2014.  We rationalized the departures, found excitement in draft finds, and tried to explain to ourselves how a bunch of undrafted free agents would hang at pivotal spots, particularly on the offensive line.  After starting 2-0, fans were flying high and believing that the pundits had gotten it wrong.  The Panthers demise, we believed, had be wrongfully and disrespectfully exaggerated.  An eight game losing streak was sobering for us all, and even though Carolina found success late, expectations have been tempered greatly.

Carolina fans are still optimistic.  There is a lot going for this team, starting with the impressive performances of the army of rookies and undrafted guys that Rivera and Gettleman trotted out there last season.  Nevertheless, Carolina fans have been cautiously optimistic.  This can be best seen in the tempered reaction to Carolina’s quiet participation in the start of free agency. Last season, fans were in an uproar that Gettleman wasn’t getting in the mix.  This year, with more cap flexibility, fans haven’t been tremendously disconcerted by the Panthers lack of activity in free agency. 

At this point, all we can do is hope. Having Smith return home would be great for the team, for the fans, and simply just an awesome story. Let’s heed the possibly real or possibly fake Steve Smith’s advice, and “Watch out in the next couple of days.”