Patriots

Robert Kraft reportedly wants a ‘bigger role’ for Kendrick Bourne

"Robert Kraft made his opinion known, and going forward I think Kendrick Bourne will have a bigger role."

Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft prior to the Patriots-Dolphins matchup in Week 1. Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

One of the more mysterious subplots of the Patriots season so far has been the status of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Bourne, 27, signed with the Patriots in 2021 and immediately posted the best year of his NFL career (55 catches, 800 yards receiving, five touchdowns).

Yet during training camp, Bourne appeared to tumble down the team’s depth chart, leading to a diminished role. In the Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, Bourne notably played just two snaps the entire game. On one of those plays, he caught a 41-yard pass, but was sent back to the bench.

After the game, Bourne expressed confusion about his benching.

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“I don’t really know, so I’m waiting for my opportunity,” he explained.

On Monday, Bill Belichick hinted that Bourne will get other opportunities in the future.

“He’s a good player. I’m sure that he’ll have plenty of opportunities, as all of our skill players will, going forward, so we’ll see how it all plays out,” Belichick explained.

On Tuesday, new reports emerged with details about why Bourne has seen his playing time cut.

According to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran (speaking in an interview with WEEI’s “Gresh & Keefe“), Bourne was “a smidge late” to a pregame meeting prior to the preseason game against the Panthers. That, plus Bourne’s role in a joint practice fight with Carolina (which got him kicked out of practice) hurt his status.

Afterward, Boston Herald Patriots reporter Andrew Callahan confirmed the report that Bourne was sent home from the Panthers game for being late to the meeting.

But in addition to the report about Bourne’s recent status, Curran added a surprising note about the wide receiver’s expected future. Speaking about Bourne’s conspicuous lack of playing time on Sunday, Curran noted that it “certainly caught the eye of the owner, from what I understand.”

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“Robert Kraft noticed it,” Curran said when asked for more about Kraft’s view of Bourne’s peripheral role. “Robert Kraft made his opinion known, and going forward I think Kendrick Bourne will have a bigger role.”

Exactly how Kraft — who is not known for meddling with team personnel decisions — will personally get Bourne on the field more is unclear, according to Curran.

“I don’t know if it’s an edict, I don’t know if it’s a suggestion,” Curran admitted.

“But I do know that anyone, whether Robert Kraft was involved directly and went to Matt Patricia or Bill Belichick or Kendrick Bourne himself and said, ‘We’re going to make sure that you’re more involved,’ I think the upshot of the whole thing is when you have a player who produces immediately, anybody could see that the Patriots need to get that player more involved.”

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