Kendrick Bourne spent most of Sunday's game vs. the Miami Dolphins where he spent the preseason: on the sideline.
The New England Patriots wide receiver was one of the team's top offensive performers in 2021, but he couldn't carry that success into this year's camp. His well-documented struggles led to him playing with the second team in practices and sitting on the bench for most of the preseason.
Despite his summer woes, Bourne's absence was glaring in Week 1. He didn't see the field until the fourth quarter when he took advantage of his lone opportunity with a 41-yard reception. That wasn't enough to convince head coach Bill Belichick to let him stay in the game as he was benched immediately afterward.
"Just waiting for my opportunity," Bourne told reporters after the 20-7 defeat. "Just waiting for the coaches. Waiting for my moment to go in."
Our Phil Perry shed some light on Bourne's frustration.
"He thought he was going back into the game," Perry said on Postgame Live. "Jaunted about five yards onto the field then was pulled back by receivers coach Troy Brown. He was clearly frustrated. He kept holding up his index finger as if to say 'one target, one big play.' And then when the Patriots fumbled soon thereafter, he headed back to the bench, whacked something off the bench, took his seat on the bench. Jonnu Smith came over to him, got him to try to cool down and calm down a little bit, but they had an extended conversation there."
Bourne isn't the only one miffed about his lack of playing time. Perry says some of Bourne's Patriots teammates were caught off guard by the wideout not seeing the field.
"This is a player who, even though he was saying the right things to us after the fact in the locker room about how he's not giving the coaches what they need to see, is somebody who is frustrated and would like to play more," Perry said. "And I can tell you his teammates, there are some that I've spoken to that would like to see him play more as well and they're surprised they're not seeing more of Kendrick Bourne."
Bourne certainly could have come in handy in the Patriots' Week 1 loss. The 27-year-old caught 55 passes for a career-high 800 yards and five touchdowns last season. His 41 yards on Sunday marked the second-highest receiving total on the team.
Bourne's status will be monitored next Sunday when the Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Belichick opts to bench him for a second consecutive week, we can expect the trade rumors to resurface.