Brian Burns on if Matt Rhule is right for the Panthers: ‘100 percent’

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Before answering questions on Wednesday, Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns was presented with this season’s Tom Berry Good Guy Award. The honor, given annually by the Pro Football Writers of America’s Carolinas chapter, recognizes the player who best exhibits the qualities kindness and availability in cooperation with media.

Given Burns’ consistent cordiality and openness with reporters, the accolade is well-earned. And, based off what he’d then tell those same reporters, his head coach would probably agree.

When later asked in the post-practice presser if Matt Rhule is still the right guy to lead the Panthers towards success, the third-year pass rusher kept his answer short and sweet.

“100 percent,” he said.

While he may not get any awards for elaboration, at least in this instance, Burns was quick and resounding in his reply.

Not as resounding, however, have been the results under Rhule—who has led the Panthers to a combined 10-22 record over his first two seasons. That mark is very likely to hit 10-23 this Sunday, when Carolina and their six-game losing streak visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18.

Burns, though, was quite detailed with his thoughts about another man who may or may not be around for 2022—Cam Newton.

“My first year, he wasn’t really around. He was there through training camp and whatever. But as the season went on—and obviously we play on different sides of the ball—but as the season went on, after he got hurt, he wasn’t really around,” Burns said of Newton, who missed 14 games in that 2019 season with a Lisfranc fracture. “So I wasn’t able to pick his brain. I was just telling him that right before I came here.”

But Burns is hoping Newton sticks around as he continues his growth as a professional.

“It would mean a lot to play with him again,” he added. “It would mean a lot for him just to come back so I could actually figure out what made him so great. And I can create my own routine, I can create my own balance—from him and all the guys that have done this at a high level. So I’m just gonna use this last week I got and try to pick his brain as much as I can ’cause I can’t tell the future. But I hope so. I hope he can come back.”

You really are a good guy, Brian Burns.

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