How Bill Belichick Explained Kendrick Bourne’s Surprise Patriots Absence

Bourne was an unexpected DNP

by

August 19

FOXBORO, Mass. — Kendrick Bourne did not suit up for Friday night’s New England Patriots preseason game.

Bill Belichick declined to reveal why.

“He wasn’t available,” Belichick said when asked about Bourne’s surprise absence after the Patriots’ 20-10 preseason victory over the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium.

The unexpected DNP capped a tumultuous week for the veteran wide receiver. Bourne was ejected from Tuesday’s joint practice with the Panthers for fighting, then spent part of Wednesday’s practice running with the second-team offense.

Bourne is coming off the best season of his career, but his lack of productivity in training camp has raised questions about his role in New England’s crowded receiving corps. The Patriots have held a total of 14 practices this summer, and Bourne has caught more than one pass from starting quarterback Mac Jones in full-team drills just once — on the opening day of camp.

Belichick later was asked whether Bourne will be available for next week’s joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders. The head coach said the only player he does not expect to participate is wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, who suffered a concussion during Wednesday’s practice.

“I expect probably all of our players to be available this week with maybe the exception of 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.”

Offensive tackles Trent Brown, Isaiah Wynn and Justin Herron, tight end Hunter Henry, offensive linemen Bill Murray and Andrew Stueber and Wilkerson also did not dress against Carolina. Brown was given the night off, per a report from the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian. The rest have missed practices due to injury.

Rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton was ruled out during the game after suffering a shoulder injury. Belichick’s response seemed to suggest that injury will not prevent Thornton from traveling to Las Vegas.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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New England Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown
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