Brian Burns is spending the week healing up after an ankle injury was aggravated by a questionable act made by an opponent's most important player.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was strip-sacked by Burns in Sunday's win over the Panthers, and when he rolled over to witness the scene unfolding, he quickly grabbed the leg of Burns, keeping the man who just took him down from being able to recover the fumble Burns forced. In the process, Burns' leg was twisted, resulting in the ankle aggravation with which Burns is now dealing.
Burns was refreshingly blunt in his assessment of the incident Wednesday.
"Watching the replay and watching all the angles and everything, I think it's some bull," Burns said. "I think it's some bull for him to take his legs -- because my main thing is he took his legs and he swept the one leg I had up, you know what I mean? I think it's some bull. And his explanation for it -- because he thought I had the ball -- I don't think you could think a person has the ball. Soon as I sacked you, you grabbed my arm. And then everybody ran past us.
"Even if you thought I had the ball, it's not legal to trip somebody or leg sweep somebody, let alone twist (an) ankle, it's not legal to do that. Everybody else ran past us. If I had the ball, don't you think I'd be getting tackled? Or your teammate would help? So, I don't think it's cool, but it's whatever."
Jones has not been penalized for the act, which left Burns on the ground writhing in pain as his teammates celebrated Frankie Luvu's fumble recovery. Burns exited the game before returning later.
Burns told reporters his ankle was already bothering him leading up to the snap, but felt as if Jones intended to cause him harm, saying "I feel like he tried to twist it, personally."
"After watching the video and looking at whatever happened and him just walking away, everything didn't seem right about it," Burns said. "I'm down there in pain and he just kind of looked at me and walked off like he did his job. ... After seeing that, that's when I realized, I'm like 'Damn.'"
There was some history between Jones and Burns with which the latter was not familiar. The two faced off in high school, with Burns sacking Jones and celebrating with a dance, Burns learned after his Panthers fell to Jones' Patriots.
"I didn't even know I played him in high school," Burns explained. "I started reading all this stuff about him saying he remembered me from high school, when I sacked him, I did a dance or something like that. I've seen the video and even then, after I sacked him in high school he got up and kind of nudged one of my teammates."
When asked if Burns came to the defense of his high school teammate, Burns laughed with his response.
"Nah, I was doing a dance. I was doing my thing," Burns said. "I was doing the dance after I sacked him ... I didn't know who he was in high school."
Teammate Christian McCaffrey was asked about his thoughts on the interaction between Burns and Jones, and while he clearly attempted to avoid stirring up any additional controversy, McCaffrey didn't shy from reality.
"I thought it was pretty suspect, but that's just my opinion," McCaffrey said.
Burns told reporters he hasn't been contacted by anyone from the Patriots, including the rookie QB and his head coach, Bill Belichick, chuckling at the thought of the seven-time Super Bowl winning coach dialing him to apologize for Jones' actions while adding "he's not gonna hit me up."
As for the league's response, Burns doesn't have a preference, saying "they can do what they want with that video."
Burns doesn't anticipate missing time due to the ankle injury, pointing out he's missed just one game in his career to this point. He would appreciate some contrition from Jones, though he doesn't see it happening, and instead directed his fellow edge rushers to get after the first-year signal-caller in the weeks ahead.
"It would be nice to have an apology," Burns said, following his statement with a laugh. "It's not going to happen. However the NFL handles it, it's on them. I would just like to play them again. And I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting."