Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers wishes the NFL DEs a ‘happy hunt’ against Mac Jones of the New England Patriots

November 10, 2021

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns is not buying into Mac Jones’s explanation that the New England Patriots quarterback was trying to tackle him and not injure him after a sack Sunday in the Bank of America Stadium.

He almost put a target on the 15th pick in the 2021 draft when asked how he wanted the situation to turn out, being reviewed by the NFL for a possible fine.

“It would be nice to have an apology, but it’s not going to happen,” Burns said Wednesday, the first time he has spoken about the play. “However, the NFL handles it, it’s up to them. I’d like to play with them again.

“I wish all my fellow D-end brothers a happy hunting. That’s it.”

Jones was asked Wednesday if he planned to approach Burns to apologize.

“I’ve already addressed that situation. I’m looking forward to playing this game with the guys we have on our team this week. So we’re already moving forward and we’re ready to play this week,” he said.

The play occurred near the end of the first quarter of Carolina’s 24-6 loss. After Burns downed Jones in a stripping bag, the quarterback grabbed Burns’ right ankle and held it while the winger tried to escape.

With Burns on the field holding his ankle and Carolina linebacker Frankie Luvu retrieving the fumble more than 10 yards away, Jones got up and walked away.

Jones said Monday in his weekly interview on WEEI radio in Boston that he thought Burns had the ball and that “it’s my job to try to make the tackle.”

Carolina running back Haason Reddick called the play “completely dirty” on Sunday. Burns, after watching the replay and then studying it from every available angle, agreed.

“I thought it was silly at first for him to grab my ankle in the first place,” Burns said. “After watching the video and … he just walked away, not everything seemed fine about it. I’m down there in pain; he just looked at me and walked away like he’s doing his job or some bull like that.

“After seeing that, that’s when I realized, ‘Damn it!'”

Burns later in the game bent his ankle again and had to be helped off the field a second time. He did not practice Wednesday and his status for Sunday’s game in Arizona is in question.

Coach Matt Rhule said his lead running back would be a game-time decision, but Burns hopes to play.

Burns laughed when asked if he had heard from Jones or Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“Did not say. “Not at all. They won’t hook me.”

Burns has also not heard from the league.

“They can do whatever they want with the video,” he said. “It’s clear to see that he grabbed my ankle, swept my leg, twisted my ankle, whatever you want to call it.”

Even Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, who normally avoids controversy, questioned Jones’ motives.

“I thought it was quite suspicious,” he said.

Burns recalled since Sunday that Jones “pushed” one of his American Heritage classmates after Burns fired him at a high school game. Both players grew up in South Florida, Burns in the Fort Lauderdale area and Jones in Jacksonville.

“I didn’t even know I played it in high school,” Burns said with a laugh.

Burns won’t forget Jones after Sunday.

“As soon as I fired him, he grabbed my arm,” he said. “And my arm got caught. Once I released my arm and tried to run, he obviously grabbed my ankle. At that point I just remember falling and my ankle hurt.

“Everyone else ran past us. If I had the ball, don’t you think they would tackle me or your teammates would help? I don’t think it’s great.”

ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.