Carolina Panthers head coach gives fans reason to worry about Brian Burns’ availability for Week 1

Brian Burns being in uniform for the Carolina Panthers’ Week 1 clash with division rivals the Atlanta Falcons is no longer a guarantee despite not having any notable injury.

After five straight losing seasons, there is a solid amount of optimism around the Carolina Panthers heading into the 2023 NFL regular season. Part of the reason is they had a sound core and then added 2022 Pro Bowler Miles Sanders, and proven veteran receivers DJ Chark Jr. and Adam Thielen in free agency. Giving new head coach Frank Reich a nice assortment of weapons on offense.

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However, the main cause for hope is that No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young will be under center in Week 1 and he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback that can help them get back to the consistent competitive play fans were used to in the previous decade.

Yet, for all the attention the players on offense will get, the Carolina Panthers defense is a rock-solid group that ranks 16 in our current NFL defense rankings. The heart of that unit is young star Brian Burns, and unfortunately, his availability for their season opener on Sept. 10 is now up in the air due to a contract dispute.

Carolina Panthers schedule: Week 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons

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Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was reported last week that after fully participating in all Summer activities for the team, he mysteriously sat out of practice on Thursday due to a “personal matter.” Well, on Monday Reich confirmed that there is a contract issue between Burns and the team and he is not a sure thing for Week 1.

“I’m just worried about getting my team ready to play Atlanta,” Reich said when asked about reported negotiations involving the defensive end. “Do I hope he is there? Absolutely, I hope he is there. If he’s not there, I’m not worried about it. Just move forward.”

  • Brian Burns stats (2022): 63 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 22 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

Brian Burns is in the final year of his Carolina Panthers rookie contract and is set to make $16 million in 2023. However, after a breakout season and a second straight trip to the Pro Bowl, the 25-year-old is likely looking to land a long-term deal that makes him one of the better-paid pass rushers in the game.

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