Brian Burns changes jersey number to 0
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Brian Burns changes jersey number to 0

Jun 10, 2023

CHARLOTTE — This isn't the multiverse, but your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will look slightly different this year.

Panthers outside linebacker Brian Burns has opted to change his jersey number to 0, making him the first player in team history to wear it.

The NFL changed the rules allowing players more latitude with single digits two years ago, and this offseason approved the use of zero as a standalone number for many players. Burns is now the 19th player in the league to adopt the number.

"I kind of was on the zero thing before everyone jumped on it," Burns said. "Now it's a common thing in the league. It feels good to know I'll be the first Panther with it, though."

While college linemen are allowed to wear it, and some defensive linemen have, Burns wasn't eligible until he became an outside linebacker in the new 3-4 defensive scheme being implemented here.

"I figured since they're changing my position technically, because of the defense we're in now, it gives me the opportunity to do something new," he said. I feel like it's a lot of new around here. So I feel like, why not do it? It's a new beginning.

"We've got a lot of new. A lot of new things going in our favor now; I really feel good about this year, and this team and what we're doing."

He also feels good about what he'll look like, as one of the larger players to wear it (many of the rest are backs and receivers).

"It don't look good (on the smaller players)," Burns said. "I've seen all shapes and sizes. I've seen it on the 300-pounders, I've seen it on the little guys, but I feel like I'm going to look the best; I'm not going to lie to you."

He wore 99 at Florida State before the Panthers drafted him in the first round in 2019, but that was taken at the time by defensive tackle Kawann Short. He said he considered a different single-digit this offseason before reconsidering.

"I wasn't ever forced into 53, but it wasn't necessarily my number of choice," he said. "I thought about 9 because I was 99 in college. But then we drafted Bryce Young, and I was like, 'OK, never mind. I'll let that be that.'"

Burns is coming off his second straight Pro Bowl appearance in his old 53. He is currently recovering from offseason ankle surgery and is expected to be ready for training camp.

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