Panthers OLB Brian Burns' status for Sunday still uncertain as contract stalemate continues

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers still don’t know if top pass rusher Brian Burns plans to play on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

The two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker participated in his third straight practice on Friday, but it’s unclear if he will actually play with his contract situation still unsettled. Burns is in the final year of his rookie contract and is due $16 million this season, but he's seeking a large contract extension.

The Panthers are still hoping to strike a deal with Burns before Sunday.

Burns declined comment through the team’s public relations staff on his status for Sunday. His agent, Todd France, has not returned text messages.

Panthers coach Frank Reich said Friday he has “no further updates” on Burns’ contract situation.

“Brian has handled it like it a pro,” Reich added. “He has practiced. There were one or two days where he didn't. Other than that it has been the same course of business. He has been the professional that he is. I'm just going to leave it at that."

Reich wouldn't say who would start if Burns sits out. Reich expressed confidence in the team's depth.

“Everybody wants a full squad out there and no injuries to deal with and no absences to deal with... but this is just normal life in the NFL,” Reich said. “When we get there Sunday, the guys that are there, we will do everything we can to go out there and win a football game.”

Burns stands to lose nearly $900,000 for every game he sits out.