There would have been no good time for the Panthers to say goodbye to Nick Goings.
But by doing it on the eve of free agency, when there are dozens of other bigger names making news, it takes away his opportunity to be the day's story, and that's too bad.
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He won't get much attention moving forward, which is a shame.
Because here's what Nick Goings did for the Panthers in eight years: Everything they ever asked of him, every day, with everything he had.
When he was the hero, you could barely find him. When he screwed up, he found you.
On talent alone, Nick Goings never makes it through his first camp. He wasn't just a try-hard mascot though, he had some skills. But they wouldn't have sustained him, and never defined him.
After hanging around a few years, running down kicks and glad to do it, he watched back after back fall during the 2004 season. They brought guys in from outside to leapfrog him on the depth chart, and finally, with no other choice, they threw their hands up and gave him the ball.
He proceeded to turn into Jim Brown for a month and a half, with four straight 100-yard games and five in six. His moment in the spotlight didn't last long, as guys with better pedigrees and resumes got healthy again the next year.
When that happened, he didn't pout, or try to leverage his sterling month into a better gig. He just did what was asked, without fail.
Of all the times coaches have been angry with me, one of the top ten was the day former offensive coordinator Dan Henning pointed a finger at me and summoned me over after practice. I had suggested in that morning's paper that the Panthers were down to Goings, a vague insult which wasn't really meant that way, just that they had no other options. Henning proceeded to look over the top of his glasses at me, staring me down while reciting chapter and verse what Goings meant to the team. I'd say it was about three minutes of the pulpit-quality fire and brimstone. It was a passionate defense of a guy who said about a dozen words the whole time he was here, coming from a man with decades in the business, who worked with the best.
You can't buy that kind of faith from your bosses in a store. You can't win it because you run fast.
You only get it by proving to them, on a daily basis, that you're a guy they can hold up as an example of what's right about the game.
History's going to turn Nick Goings into a footnote, if that.
But for the biggest part of a decade here, he meant much more than that to so many people. The least they could have done was given him his own day to be appreciated.
He deserved that much.