Kendrick Bourne reacts to NFL trade rumors, ‘glad' to be with Patriots

Kendrick Bourne reacts to NFL trade rumors, ‘glad' to be with Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kendrick Bourne wants to be with the New England Patriots, and he's glad that head coach Bill Belichick is sticking with him.

The veteran wide receiver was the subject of trade rumors earlier this week when The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported that teams had called the Patriots to inquire about Bourne but were told he isn't available.

"I appreciate Bill (Belichick). Bill stuck with me," Bourne told reporters after Wednesday's practice. "I struggled last year personally, and he's always pushing me to be better. It's always about getting better. And I feel like Bill encourages me every day.

"And I appreciate that personally, because he could've been like, 'whatever,' but he's always pushing me. And this year I wanna go my hardest I've ever gone. It feels good to be wanted, but I'm glad to be here and this is where I'm supposed to be. And that's what's happened."

Bourne signed with the Patriots as a free agent in 2021 and had an excellent debut season in Foxboro with 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns. His usage and production surprisingly took a massive hit in 2022, as he totaled just 35 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown despite playing 16 of 17 games.

The Patriots kept Bourne despite interest from other teams, and it could end up being a pivotal decision. Bourne played very well in training camp and made the most of his preseason reps, particularly in the win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

He's expected to play a prominent role in the passing attack with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien running the show. Bourne didn't see the field as much as he should have last season when Matt Patricia ran the offense. That should change in a major way during the 2023 campaign. In fact, Bourne could easily end up being the team's No. 1 wide receiver this season.