Darnold out with shoulder fracture; defender not happy with ‘completely dirty’ play

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2021

By Steve Reed

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE — Panthers coach Matt Rhule said quarterback Sam Darnold will miss at least four weeks with a right shoulder injury.

Darnold, who is 4-5 as the team’s starter, suffered an incomplete fracture of the shoulder blade and will go on injured reserve.

P.J. Walker will start for the Panthers on Sunday against the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals, Rhule said. Walker, who played in the XFL, is 1-0 as an NFL starter but has thrown one touchdown and five interceptions during his brief playing career.

The Panthers have signed quarterback Matt Barkley off the Tennessee Titans practice squad and he’s expected to serve as Carolina’s No. 2 quarterback on Sunday.

Darnold originally sustained an injury to his right shoulder in a Week 8 win over the Atlanta Falcons on the same play in which he sustained a concussion. Darnold recovered enough to play on Sunday against the New England Patriots, but further injured the shoulder.

Rhule said the second injury was in a “different spot” than the first injury.

Rhule said the Panthers are open to signing another quarterback.

When asked if the team would consider re-signing Cam Newton, the franchise’s No. 1 draft pick in 2011, Rhule said he didn’t want to discuss “hypotheticals” and said his focus is on the players that are on the practice field.

Panthers defensive end not happy with Patriots QB’s actions

Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns said he thinks New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones should apologize for grabbing his right ankle and trying to twist it  during last Sunday’s game in Charlotte.

Not that Burns is expecting Jones to be contrite.

“It would be nice to have an apology, but it’s not going to happen,” Burns said Wednesday in his first interview since the game. “However the NFL handles it, it’s on them. I would just like to play them again.”

Then, Burns added, “I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting. That’s all.’’

Burns and several of his Carolina teammates are still upset that Jones was not penalized for holding and has not yet been fined by the league for grabbing Burns’ leg after a sack-fumble in New England’s 24-6 win over Carolina.

Burns sacked Jones from behind on the play, jarring the ball loose in the first half. As Jones was on the ground, he grabbed Burns’ lower leg, preventing the defensive end from going after the ball for a scoop-and-score. Frankie Luvu recovered the ball, but was tackled and the Panthers wound up settling for a field goal.

Burns remained on the ground after the play, but returned on the game’s next series before leaving again later in the game.

Burns said he believes Jones intentionally twisted his ankle.

“As soon as I sacked him he grabbed my arm — and my arm was trapped,” Burns said. “Once I got my arm free and tried to run, obviously he grabbed my ankle. At that point I just remember going down with my ankle hurting. … Watching the replay and then watching all the angles, I think it’s some bull. He took his legs and he swept the one leg I had up.”

Jones refused to discuss the incident on Wednesday.

“I already addressed that situation,” Jones said when asked if he’s reached out to Burns. “I’m just looking forward to playing in this game with the guys we have our team this week. So we’re gonna try to move forward and (be) ready to play this week.”

In his weekly appearance on WEEI-FM on Tuesday, Jones said he didn’t know where the ball was after he was leveled from behind — and that he didn’t mean to hurt Burns.

“I thought (Burns) had the ball,” Jones told WEEI’s Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria. “It’s my job to try to make a tackle. That was pretty much it.”

Burns isn’t buying Jones’ explanation.

“Even if you thought I had thought I had the ball, it’s not legal to trip somebody or leg sweep somebody, let alone twist the ankle,” Burns said. “Everybody else ran past us. If I had the ball don’t you think I would be being tackled or your teammates would help? I don’t think it’s cool.”

Replays show Burns desperately trying to free his leg from Jones’ grasp, then falling to the ground.

In Burns’ mind, he thinks Jones tried to twist his ankle.

“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, he just looked at me and walked off like he did his job or some bull like that. … After seeing that, that’s when I realized, ‘Damn!’ ”

Panthers defensive end Haason Reddick called it a “completely dirty” play by Jones after the game.