The Pro Bowl Panthers linebacker was ejected after hitting Bucs offensive lineman Cody Mauch in the head. The incident took place after Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans scored a 75-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 14-10 lead.
A scrum broke out on the ensuing extra point with players from both teams pushing and shoving after the successful kick. Officials convened and determined that Burns hit Mauch. Replay video confirmed the infraction.
ANOTHER EJECTION! Panthers LB Brian Burns has been ejected for throwing a punch. pic.twitter.com/WE9bEKxDgf
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) December 3, 2023
Burns hit Mauch on the left side of his helmet, risking injury to his own hand. A nearby official watched it play out and immediately threw his flag.
Burns didn't appear to sustain an injury. He was escorted off the field after his disqualification for the personal foul.
Burns: Buc 'said something that he shouldn't have'
Burns apologized for the ejection while speaking with reporters postgame.
Panthers LB Brian Burns discusses his ejection from Sunday's game with the Bucs for hitting a Tampa Bay offensive lineman
Full coverage ➡️ https://t.co/yhbV4SFpSk pic.twitter.com/jSNwOLL32u
— The Charlotte Observer (@theobserver) December 4, 2023
"First, I'd like to apologize to my team, my family for conducting myself that way," Burns said. "Never been ejected from a game, especially for doing something like that. Emotions got the best of me."
He also told reporters that "one of the offensive lineman" said something to him and linebacker Marquis Haynes at the beginning of the game that set him off. He didn't clarify what was said or who said it.
"One of the offensive linemen said something in the beginning that he shouldn't have said to me and Marquis. Ever since then ... I was mad.
"Then some events happened, we got scored on, the game wasn't going our way. Initially it wasn't even my fight. I just got pushed, and then I turned around and reacted. I take full accountability for my actions."
A two-time Pro Bowler, Burns is arguably Carolina's best defender.