"This has been a difficult time for me and my family," Smith wrote. "But you all have been a bright spot for us."
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Perhaps that lack of public bashing could lead to an eventual retirement with the franchise that he led for so many years. Regardless of the outcome, Smith's home is in Charlotte.
"I will always consider myself a Carolina Panther," Smith wrote. "And I look forward to the day when I get to come home to celebrate my career, and retire in the city I've grown to love and appreciate very much."