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Brian Burns sits out practice Monday, status vs Falcons up in the air over contract

The two-time Pro Bowler has been optimistic about getting a new deal done before the 2023 season. His status for Week 1 is now unclear.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns sat out his second consecutive practice Monday, raising questions over whether he will play in Sunday's regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons due to a contract dispute. 

Burns, a two-time Pro Bowler, also missed practice last Thursday. He was at the team facility Monday and has been participating in team meetings despite not participating in practice. 

Burns is set to make $16 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract but has been optimistic that he and the team would reach an agreement for a new deal. Burns was a full participating during minicamp and training camp as a sign that he's committed to the organization. Now it appears he wants to see commitment from the organization that drafted him 16th overall in 2019. 

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"My view of Brian Burns doesn't diminish at all," head coach Frank Reich told reporters Monday. "We understand there is a business side to this thing we do, and I still respect and admire the way he has handled himself. I have nothing but the highest regard for Brian Burns."

Several Panthers players told WCNC Charlotte they hope Burns is able to play Sunday, complimenting their teammate's engagement during meetings and preparation for the Falcons. Burns' backup, Marquis Haynes, was placed on injured reserve with a back injury and cannot play against Atlanta. Linebacker Shaq Thompson said his "gut feeling" is a deal will get done before Sunday's game. 

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“We know he’s gonna be out there at the end of the day," Thompson said. “He knows he’s gonna be out there at the end of the day. Everybody upstairs (in the front office) better know he better be out there by Wednesday. He’s a big factor in this defense. He’s the one it really starts with.”

“It’s hard, yeah," Reich said. "I can say — and both of these things can be true — that I love and respect Brian Burns and he has to do what he has to do. But does that make it harder? Yeah it makes it harder. That is just the facts and I’m sure he understands that. You can’t find more of a team guy than him. But life is complicated sometimes so we keep moving forward day by day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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