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Kendrick Bourne professes love for New England, but acknowledges need to be ‘ready for whatever’ amid trade rumors

Bourne has been seen as a trade candidate going all the way back to 2022.

New England Patriots (17) Vs. Las Vegas Raiders (21) At Allegiant Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Kendrick Bourne has been a subject to trade rumors going all the way back to last summer, but the New England Patriots have held onto the wide receiver amid all the speculation.

With them now at 1-5 and potentially looking to sell off assets, however, the 28-year-old is back in the spotlight as a possible candidate to be moved. And while the Patriots have not tipped their hand in either direction, Bourne knows that the decision is out of his.

“It will definitely be on my mind, but just being ready for whatever,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Bourne joined the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2021, and immediately became one of the team’s most productive pass catchers. His impressive first season in New England and strong connection with then-rookie quarterback Mac Jones seemingly put him on an encouraging trajectory, but he followed it up with a disappointing 2022 season.

For reasons unknown, Bourne failed to become a regular part of the lineup under new offensive coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge — sparking talk that he might get moved. He did not, and a year later finds himself in the middle of a solid bounce-back campaign.

Despite the Patriots offense as a whole struggling so far this year, Bourne has found a way to contribute in a positive fashion. The team’s leader in receptions (28), yards (307) and touchdowns (2), he has been a rare bright spot on that side of the ball.

New England’s offense is a better one with him in the lineup, but his production might make him an attractive option to be moved.

Bourne acknowledged as much on Wednesday, but he also professed his love for New England along the way.

“I want to be here. I love to be here,” he said. “But if there are other plans, then it is what it is. But just focusing every day on what I have to do and the task at hand. I think I’m in a good place. So, whatever happens happens. Just focusing day by day, and just let it play out.”

The Patriots’ next two games will see them take on the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. The NFL trade deadline is scheduled for Oct. 31, two days after the game in Miami.