CHARLOTTE — 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 skipped the team’s last two practices and showed up Wednesday in pads.
Burns is set to make $16 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal, but is seeking a big contract extension. Burns has 38 sacks in his first four seasons with the Panthers. Only Julius Peppers has had more sacks for the team in his first four seasons.
“I’m not involved in the contract negotiations at all,” Reich said. “I’m just worried about getting my team ready to play Atlanta. 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.”
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.
The Panthers are voting on their captains this week. Head Coach Frank Reich announced the players that were voted to represent the team this season, including first overall pick Bryce Young.
Adam Thielen, Taylor Moton will represent the offense. Punter Johnny Hekker was also named a captain. Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson were named captains on defense.
>> In the video at the top of the page, Channel 9 breaks down the latest in Burns’ contract negotiations.
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