The reemergence of Kendrick Bourne in the New England Patriots’ offense has been a welcomed sight for fans of the 28-year-old wideout.

Bourne’s career in New England got off to a hot start, with his five-touchdown campaign in 2021 looking like the start of a fruitful partnership between the two sides.

How does that old saying go, though? “The best-laid plans of mice and men.”

Yeah, that.

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In what was expected to be a career season, Bourne struggled mightily in 2022, catching just 35 passes and reaching the end zone once across 16 games played. It was a sharp decline from his previous season, for which many people lay blame on former Patriots offensive play-caller Matt Patricia.

Bourne, however, doesn’t see it that way. That’s why he not only took blame for the down season but did something about it.

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“It happened pretty fast after having a down year,” Bourne said of his offseason work, per Mark Daniels of MassLive. “Like, ‘I gotta change something.’ It wasn’t fun. I wasn’t having fun. I was fighting through the year and my body wasn’t feeling strong. I knew that I couldn’t repeat that.”

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Bourne reportedly added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, working with trainer Aaron Woods to prevent another lost campaign.

“When you don’t accomplish your goals, you gotta look yourself in the mirror,” Woods told Daniels. “He took that on the chin. It was like, ‘Hey, it’s on me.'”

The work has already shown to be worth it, with Bourne catching 10 passes for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns through two games. He has emerged as one of Mac Jones’ most reliable outside targets, with his playing time (71% of offensive snaps) reflecting that.

The next step for Bourne? Keep grinding.

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Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images