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Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly took notice of Kendrick Bourne’s lack of playing time in Week 1

Robert Kraft Patriots Kendrick Bourne Week 1

The sage surrounding Kendrick Bourne’s lack of playing time in the New England Patriots’ Week 1 loss took another twist on Tuesday.

Bourne played just two snaps in the Patriots’ season-opening loss against the Dolphins, which owner Robert Kraft apparently took notice of. Bourne’s lack of playing time in Sunday’s game “caught the eyes” of the Patriots’ owner, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reported Tuesday, which could prompt a change in the receiver’s situation.

“My understanding is that Kraft definitely noticed Bourne was left in mothballs all day,” Curran wrote. “And he noticed what happened when he finally got on the field. I don’t know if a Bourne ultimatum has been issued, but I’ll bet he’ll have a far bigger role going forward.”

Bourne’s lack of playing time in Sunday’s game and throughout the preseason and training camp has been one of the surprising early storylines surrounding the Patriots. In his first season in New England, Bourne set career highs across the board by catching 55 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns while being Mac Jones’ second-most targeted receiver.

In training camp though, Bourne wasn’t getting targeted as much by Jones and worked with the backups at times. Part of that reason appears to be in part because of New England’s new offensive coaching staff, with new offensive line coach Matt Patricia appearing to be the play-caller on that side of the ball. Bourne and Patricia “haven’t exactly jelled,” according to Curran.

Bourne got himself in trouble a pair of times during a joint practice with the Panthers in the leadup to the Patriots’ preseason game against them in August. The receiver had to leave the field due to an equipment issue and was later ejected due to throwing punches during a brawl between the two teams.

When it was time to play the game between the two teams later in the week, Bourne wasn’t active and wasn’t seen on the field. According to Curran, something else transpired between Bourne and the Patriots during that week.

“There was a meeting prior to the Carolina Panthers game that he was just a smidge late to,” Curran said on WEEI’s “Gresh and Keefe.” “I was told that resulted in the benching that night. All of those things, I think, combined have landed him in Matt Patricia’s doghouse.”

Bourne’s time in the dog house might not last for much longer though. After Kraft reportedly took notice, Bourne’s “playing time is expected to increase,” The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Tuesday.

In his second and final snap of Sunday’s game, Bourne caught a 41-yard pass from Jones on a deep route as New England tried to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.

That was the final play Bourne took part in on Sunday as the Patriots’ coaches removed him before Nelson Agholor’s game-sealing fumble. Bourne said he wasn’t sure why he hasn’t received much playing time so far when asked after the game.

“Not sure,” Bourne said. “I play my role, so whatever I got to do, just waiting for that moment. I don’t really know. Just waiting on the opportunity.”

“It’s tough,” Bourne added. “Just keeping my mind in it, though, knowing my teammates are capable. It’s not about me at all. Just waiting for my opportunity. That’s all I can say.”

Jones was hopeful and seemed confident that Bourne would play more when asked about the receiver’s confusing situation on Monday.

“I think KB, he’s very consistent in how he plays,” Jones said. “I know exactly where he’s going to be. We have a good amount of banked reps, as I always say, and I feel that way about a lot of guys on our team. I feel like we can spread the ball around, and we just got to continue to do that. Like I said, KB’s a big part of it, and we want him to be able to help, and anyone to help. We just want to be able to score more points.”

Bourne and the Patriots face the Steelers in Week 2.