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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Patriots fans were asking the same question during Friday’s preseason game

Kendrick Bourne smiles

May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) speaks to the media at the team’s OTA at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Where in the world is wide receiver Kendrick Bourne? That’s a question New England Patriots fans couldn’t stop themselves from asking on Friday night.

It’s also a question head coach Bill Belichick refused to answer in any great detail following a 20-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in their preseason game.

Bourne did not play, which came as a surprise.

“He wasn’t available,” Belichick said after the game, via Zack Cox of NESN.

Bourne’s absence was not injury-related and capped an ugly week for the 27-year-old. He had been kicked out of Tuesday’s joint practice with the Panthers for fighting and then spent Wednesday taking second-team snaps.

This latest round of misfortune also comes on the heels of an unimpressive training camp for Bourne. After posting a career-high 800 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, he’s struggled to produce this summer. Bourne has caught more than one pass in practice just once since camp opened and his roster spot is now very much up in the air.

The Patriots will conduct joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders next week before closing out the preseason, and Belichick says Bourne will return to the field.

“I expect probably all of our players to be available this week with maybe the exception of (Kristian) Wilkerson,” Belichick said. “We’ll see what happens, unless somebody walks in here with something today, but I think we should be pretty close with everybody. Hopefully. We’ll see how it goes.”

Bourne has a lot of ground to make up and redemption to find in the coming days. Any more struggles or slip-ups and he may soon find himself on the waiver wire.

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