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Kendrick Bourne’s interesting week capped by surprise absence against Panthers

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 20-10 preseason win over Panthers

New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

When the New England Patriots took the field for Friday night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, they did so without wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. When asked why the receiver was missing, Bill Belichick declined to share.

“He wasn't available,” Belichick said postgame.

The DNP puts an exclamation mark on an interesting week for the receiver. On Tuesday, Bourne was removed from a drill for an apparent uniform violation — which a nearby Belichick was not pleased about — and then was ejected later in the day for fighting. When he returned Wednesday, Bourne spent the majority of his day repping with the second-unit.

After a strong first season with New England, many thought Bourne would see an even bigger role in the Patriots offense this season. The exact opposite has occurred as the 27-year-old has had an overall quiet summer on a crowded receiver depth chart.

With the depth in the receiving corps, New England has “heard from teams looking to deal for starting wideouts,” according to NBC Sports’ Phil Perry. Despite Bourne’s recent status, Perry reports that Bourne’s two-year contract, with cap hits $6.4 million this year and $6.9 million next year, “makes him safe” from a potential trade.

Bourne will likely be available for next week’s joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders, as Belichick said he only expects Kristian Wilkerson, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday, to be the only player missing.

“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.”