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Brian Burns looks to pick up where he left off last season, step into role as a leader

Panthers defense on track to be youngest in the NFL in a decade

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Brian Burns was off to a promising rookie campaign last season before suffering a wrist injury that had impacted the rest of his year, but now in his second season and as a member of the Panthers young defense he hopes to pick up where he left off and step into a role as a leader.

"I think it's all about how you carry yourself, honestly. How you go about things, you're doing everything right and holding people accountable. I feel like you can be a leader your first year, but you also have to back it up on the field,” Burns said.

Meanwhile, Burns is already using his first-year experience to help guide the new rookie class.

"I just tell them don't wait. Don't wait to take care of your body. Don't wait to get into the treatment room or wait to watch film. Take advantage of it now. Don't be that rookie that's like, 'I'll do it later.' No, do it now. And I just gave them little tips on game-time situations, what would happen if you do this, or what would happen if you do that,” Burns explained.

Meanwhile, the defense will be led by new defensive coordinator Phil Snow, and Burns is excited with what he’s experienced so far.

"The defense is very versatile. It's a lot to take in. A lot of ways we can come,” Burns said. “There's a lot of guys I can still learn from and we've got a very talented group in my opinion.”