Panthers defensive end Brian Burns didn't get the contract extension he was looking for before the team's season opener against the Falcons, but he was on the field with the team on Sunday afternoon.
Burns said that he took advice from teammate Justin Houston to "cut off the world" and figure out the best course for himself when faced with deciding whether to stop holding in and fully commit to the season. Burns said that he plans to continue playing and to continue separating the contract part of football from the on-field action.
"Just understanding it, just understanding how things work," Burns said, via Darin Gantt of the team's website. "Like this was my first rodeo, but still, I know business is business, and you've got to leave your emotions at the door. So every time I came in, I tried to try my best to leave my emotions outside, leave it in my car. You know what I'm saying? Coming in with a clear mind, and business is business, and whatever happens, happens."
Burns showed no signs of rust from the limited practice work he did heading into the first week of the season. He had seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in the 24-10 loss and said after the game that he didn't see the performance as a way to make his case for a new deal.
"No, I don't feel like I have anything to prove," Burns said. "I feel like I've done what I needed to do, and I'm just being consistent, you know. I've just taken the next step in my game, and I want to dominate. So coming down that first quarter, first half, whatever, that's all that was on my mind was dominating. And I've just got to make sure I don't fall out when they change the game plan against me."
Burns' future with the Panthers remains uncertain, but there's no doubt that they're a better team in the present with him in the fold.