Panthers coach Frank Reich said Monday that Burns not practicing was a “personal matter.” Burns last practiced Wednesday before sitting out Thursday, and then the team had three days off. He was at the team’s facility on both Thursday and Monday for meetings, but declined to speak with reporters.
As for what changed between Wednesday and Monday, Reich said he had absolutely nothing to do with it.
“I’m not involved in the contract negotiations. At all,” Reich said Monday, via ESPN’s David Newton. “I have zero [input] … 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.”
Burns had a career-high 63 tackles and 12.5 sacks last season, his fourth with the Panthers after they drafted him with the No. 16 overall pick in 2019 out of Florida State.
The 25-year-old is set to earn just more than $16 million this season, the fifth year of his initial rookie contract. San Francisco 49ers star Nick Bosa, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is also holding out for a new deal that could make him the highest paid edge rusher in the league. Steelers star T.J. Watt is the current highest paid edge rusher at about $28 million per season.
"This is personal, but I've been working on my relationship with God," Burns said last week, via ESPN. "I left it in his hands. I just did everything I could in my power to be on this field with my teammates. I feel if you live the right way, good things will happen to you."
The Panthers, who missed the playoffs for a fifth straight time last year, will open their season on Sunday against the Falcons in Atlanta.