Kendrick Bourne threw it right back in the media’s face Sunday.
The Patriots wide receiver was answering questions after training camp at Gillette Stadium when asked about sophomore wideout Tyquan Thornton by reporter Mike Giardi, who, a week earlier, said the team’s receiver room “Stink, stank and stunk.”
“Stink, stank and stunk,” Bourne quipped with a grin, leaving the podium with nothing more to add.
The 28-year-old is part of a receiver group that struggled last season and Giardi was quick to call them out while appearing on NBC Sports Boston on July 31.
“The way I describe this room is it’s a professional room. Like, all those guys belong in the league, but none of them are one’s, none of them are two’s –– and maybe just maybe –– none of them are three’s,” Giardi said.
“If Tyquan Thornton doesn’t become what they hope he’s going to be, then that’s another huge swing and miss.”
Bourne is entering his third season with the Patriots and finished the 2022 season with 35 catches for 434 yards and one touchdown.
He is likely to be second on the depth chart behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, whom New England signed to a three-year, $33 million contract in March.
Despite the noise from the media, Bourne said he’s feeling good about the team’s receivers.
“We’ve got a lot of doubters. We’ve got a lot to prove. I’m excited, man. It’s good to be the underdog sometimes because they don’t know we’re coming,” Bourne said, according to The Boston Globe.
“We put in the work. Behind closed doors, you know, a lot of things are said, but we know how we feel, we know what we’re capable of. And it’s not just us receivers. It’s all of us as a group.”
Bourne will have his first chance to prove himself outside of camp Thursday when the Patriots host the Texans for their first preseason matchup.
“I think we’re in a good place. It just feels good getting through camp healthy. I feel like we’re doing good with our bodies overall,” Bourne said.
“So, getting into a game week, a game feel, it feels exciting. It feels good to be back in football mode.”