Carolina Panthers HC Frank Reich's adjustment
The Brian Burns contract stalemate has cast a cloud over what's been an otherwise decent preparation period for the Carolina Panthers. This is a fluid situation that could go either way, but it doesn't make things any easier for head coach Frank Reich ahead of his opening competitive contest at the helm.
Reich has leaned heavily on Burns throughout the offseason and praised the edge rusher for his mentality while others around the league are holding out. When asked about his lack of on-field participation in recent days, the experienced figurehead stated via USA Today Sports he's just rolling with the punches.
"It’s hard. It’s hard. Like I can say—and both of these things can be true—I can say I love and respect Brian Burns and he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. But does it make it harder? Yeah, it makes it harder. I mean, that’s just the facts. I’m sure he understands that. And you can’t find more of a team guy than him. Life is complicated sometimes. It’s complicated. So, we just keep movin’ forward day by day. I’m at the stage in this where I’m not involved in the contract negotiation. At all. Zero. Mr. Tepper and Scott [Fitterer] asked me my views of certain things. I’ve expressed my views. I’m just worried about gettin’ our team ready to play Atlanta. And do I hope he’s there? Absolutely I hope he’s there. But if he’s not there, I’m not worried about it. Just move forward."- Frank Reich via USA Today Sports
This isn't ideal for Reich or the Panthers. But the NFL is a business above all else and if Burns feels like he's being undervalued, a holdout cannot be dismissed entirely.
If Burns isn't on the field and the Panthers get beat in Week 1, it won't take long for the fans to start turning on general manager Scott Fitterer. Hopefully, it won't come to that.