CHARLOTTE — Panthers defensive end Brian Burns called "bull" on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
Both his action, and his justification. And Burns is hoping it won't cause him to miss any time.
Burns said Wednesday he didn't necessarily buy Jones' explanation that he thought Burns had the ball after a strip-sack Sunday. Jones held onto Burns' ankle as the ball was recovered downfield by Frankie Luvu, a play Burns referred to in bovine terms.
"It's bull," he said simply.
Likewise, teammate Christian McCaffrey thought it was "suspect."
"It would be nice to have an apology, but it's not going to happen," Burns said. "I would just like to play them again. And I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting."
Now, he's trying to get himself ready to play. He was held out of practice Wednesday with a foot issue, and Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said the decision on his availability this week would likely go all the way to game-time.
Burns hedged a bit when asked if he thought he'd be ready for the Cardinals game, but also added: "I don't see myself being out (this week), to be honest."
Burns has 5.5 sacks in the first nine games.
— While Burns has cultivated his Spiderman persona over the years, Rhule had a different superhero in mind.
"Knowing Brian Burns, I don't put anything past him," Rhule said of his defensive end's chances to play this week. "His ability to recover is pretty special. He's like Wolverine, kind of regenerates. He's an unbelievable athlete and person. Puts a lot of time into recovery, so I wouldn't put anything past him."
Burns grinned when informed of that characterization, and said: "That's a huge compliment. I might have to do something with that."
— Rhule said new backup quarterback Matt Barkley was a player they've considered for some time, and that they have background with. Barkley was signed after the injury to Sam Darnold which will keep the starter out for at least four weeks.
Panthers assistant general manager Dan Morgan was on the Bills staff when Barkley spent three years there, and Rhule said he liked the way Barkley was picking things up after one day on the practice field.
"We always kind of thought he could be a good guy on the roster,' Rhule said. "It kind of worked out to have him here. He's a smart guy, tremendous worker, accurate, learned the offense quickly.
"The opportunity came to add someone on the active roster, so it was a natural fit to get him here in the backup position."
View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Panthers prepare to travel to Arizona this weekend.