Brian Burns returns to Panthers practice in pads; status for Sunday's game remains uncertain


Carolina Panthers two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Burns returned to practice on Wednesday amid stalled talks on a contract extension

BySTEVE REED AP sports writer

September 6, 2023, 2:24 PM

FILE - Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Brian Burns (0) looks on after a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. Brian Burns sat out his second consecutive practice Monday, Sept. 4, because of a contract dispute, raising questions about whether the two-time Pro Bowler will play in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

FILE – Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Brian Burns (0) looks on after a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. Brian Burns sat out his second consecutive practice Monday, Sept. 4, because of a contract dispute, raising questions about whether the two-time Pro Bowler will play in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Burns returned to practice on Wednesday amid stalled talks on a contract extension, although his status for Sunday’s Week 1 game at Atlanta remains uncertain.

Burns, who had skipped the team’s past two practices, showed up in full pads. He was not listed on the team’s injury report, so he was considered a full participant.

After skipping most of the stretching period and getting re-taped by trainers under a tent, the four-year NFL veteran participated in individual drills at full speed during the 20 minutes of practice that were open to reporters.

It’s uncertain if Burns will play Sunday without first signing a contract extension. He and his agent Todd France have refused to discuss his contract situation or his plans on whether or not to play moving forward.

The 25-year-old Burns is set to make slightly more than $16 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract, but is seeking a long-term extension. He would miss out on close to $900,000 for every game he misses.

That Burns was dressed for practice is at least some promising news for the Panthers.

Burns is a vital part of the team’s defense, which is moving to a 3-4 scheme this season under new coordinator Ejiro Evero. Burns had a career-high 12 1/2 sacks last season. He has set a goal of 10 sacks in the first 10 games of this season.

Burns has been an extremely productive player for the Panthers over the past four seasons with 38 sacks. Only Julius Peppers had more sacks for the Panthers in his first four seasons.

NOTES: Panthers wide receiver DJ Chark (hamstring) did not practice, while the team’s other wide receivers Adam Thielen (ankle) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (back) were limited. Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (ankle) was a full participant. Defensive end DeShawn Williams did not practice Wednesday because of an illness.

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