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Former San Francisco 49ers wideout Kendrick Bourne, now playing for the New England Patriots, didn’t hold any punches when asked about his camp experience thus far.
“I’ve only been at one other training camp. This is definitely harder,” Bourne told reporters. “We work harder here, and I’m glad to be here.”
Bourne, a fifth-year player from Eastern Washington who went undrafted in 2017, knows all about the grind it takes to make a team. To even still be in the league four years later, much less playing on a new three-year, $15 million deal in New England, speaks volumes to his dedication and work ethic. If this scrounger says there’s a difference in intensity between camps, I’m inclined to believe him.
Bourne was also complimentary of rookie quarterback Mac Jones recently during a camp presser. In what was described by journalists as the prettiest pass of the day, Mac Jones threaded a 10-yard beauty to Bourne for a scrimmage touchdown. After practice, Bourne made his feelings public.
“I definitely was impressed with that throw,” said Bourne. “I told him after, ‘I don’t know how you got it in that window,’ but you know the league is about a little bit of separation. We’re not going to always beat them by five yards. It’s half a yard. Maybe less than a yard. So for him to have that kind of accuracy, it’s impressive. I’m excited to see him grow each day.”
For now, though, the Patriots starting job belongs to veteran play caller Cam Newton, who is looking for a career resurgence after an up-and-down 2020 season in Foxborough. The Pats finished with a 7-9 losing record last season, but though they’re still transitioning out of the Brady era, it wouldn’t be smart to bet against them. Head coach Bill Belichick obviously runs a tight, competitive camp, so to see them perform above expectations wouldn’t be a surprise.