Kendrick Bourne reacts to new rumors of the Patriots trading him before this season

New England Patriots v New York Jets
New England Patriots v New York Jets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The up-and-down career of Kendrick Bourne since he signed with the Patriots in 2021 has consistently been a topic of conversation when discussing the team's current state and future. Besides Mac Jones' performance from last season bringing on a lot of potential trade talks, rumors have swirled regarding Bourne being on the chopping block this offseason.

But the speculation was seemingly put to bed again this week when reports indicated several teams had contacted Bill Belichick about trading for the 28-year-old receiver. According to sources, Belichick told any team that reached out about Bourne that he was unavailable, ending any possibility that he was a trade candidate this season.

It's a much different tune than what we've heard over the last several months, especially with all the focus on the pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins and even the extension of DeVante Parker earlier this summer.

Bourne was asked about the reports on Wednesday afternoon and shared his feelings on the matter, thanking Belichick for believing in him after having a rough 2022 season.

"I appreciate Bill (Belichick). Bill stuck with me. 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."

After all that the offense went through by this point last season, particularly Bourne, who didn't have a great training camp or preseason, it's good to see Belichick appear to have complete confidence in what he can bring to the team this year.

The attitude within the team has seen a dramatic shift since the arrival of Bill O'Brien, and seeing Bourne thrive this summer in that new offense indicates he will be far more involved and utilized in the game plans than last year.

The connection between him and Jones is very apparent. Belichick and O'Brien's belief in Bourne's abilities shows last year was a fluke; his down season was an unfortunate byproduct of a failed experiment with Matt Patricia as the offensive coordinator.

Now that the most problematic coach is gone, there's a lot of optimism that Bourne will be one of the players to have a bounce-back season in 2023, and it looks like Belichick believes he can do just that.