Panthers Pro Bowler Brian Burns returns to practice amid contract dispute


Brian Burns returned to practice on Wednesday after missing Monday’s walk-through due to a “personal matter,” according to Panthers coach Frank Reich. 

According to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, Burns absence was contract-related. It is unclear whether he will be able to play in the Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, or whether he will play before a new deal gets done.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa is predicted to set the market for pass rusher deals and until his deal is finalized, Burns’ camp is unlikely to agree to a number. 

Monday was the second straight team activity Burns missed, the first being last Thursday’s practice, which was also attributed to a personal matter.

“I’ll just refer that to Brian,” Reich said after Burns’ first missed team activity. “It’s impossible for me to have more respect than I do for Brian. It’s his personal matter. And secondly, as a matter of policy, it’s not my role to talk about contracts, even if that’s what it was.”

Burns is heading into the final year of his contract, the fifth year of his rookie deal and the two sides have not yet reached an agreement to keep Burns in Charlotte for the long term. The contract battle could be the root of the two absences, but neither side has said it has anything to do with the negotiations. 

Despite his absence, Reich had nothing but praise for the 25-year-old. 

“My view of Brian Burns doesn’t diminish at all,” he added (via NBC Sports). “We understand there’s a business side to this thing we do and I still respect and admire the way he’s handled himself. So, I have nothing but the highest regard for Brian Burns.”

Burns was in the locker…


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