New England Patriots

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Heading into free agency, Kendrick Bourne wasn’t sure if he’d be a fit with the New England Patriots. Fast-forward a week, and he’s not only enthusiastic about the opportunity to play in New England, he’s attacking the challenge head on.

On Monday, Bourne spoke to New England media for the first time since signing a three-year, $15 million contract last week. The 25-year-old was all smiles as he detailed his initial impressions of the team, starting with his first interaction in Foxborough.

“When I came in the building the first time, I thought it was going to be all stuck up, kind of like trying to see how it would feel. But it was a whole misconception,” Bourne explained.

“They’re relaxed in there. They’re laid back, having fun. They know how they want to look. They know that they want their organization to be serious, you know, excellence. But behind closed doors, it is relaxed. It is fun. It is – there’s laughing in there. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to be myself. But first day in the building Bill was super cool, Robert Kraft, super nice.”

“I had a whole misconception just about the whole place, thinking it is too serious or whatever it may be. And it just wasn’t it,” Bourne admitted. At the same time, he says he realizes when the lights get bright it’s all about business, and he’s ready for that element of the Patriots experience as well.

This work ethic has to be through the roof,” he noted. “In New England, this is no joke. This is – I’m taking this series. They’re serious in this building, and I want them to take me serious. I want the respect. I haven’t earned anything yet. I haven’t done anything yet.”

Knowing he can have fun in the process, Bourne welcomes the hard work that comes with playing in New England. He was able to get a first-hand account of those expectations from his wide receivers coach in San Francisco, former Patriot Wes Welker.

“Wes definitely told me about – I had a talk with him – told me great place, great decision I picked, and how they work hard there, everything is earned,” a fact which grabbed Bourne’s interest. “That was the biggest thing when I heard that man, you know, coming to a place where you can earn everything and go out there and play showcase and earn your keep, it was a no brainer…they’re going to make me a better player”

Bourne is part of a free agency class that will face a tremendous amount of external pressure, as the Patriots try to rebound from an uncharacteristic 7-9 season. Even though he’s only been with the team for a week, Bourne is optimistic about a turnaround – and he isn’t afraid to admit it either.

“I’m definitely excited. They’re going to turn it around in one year. I can honestly see it first day in the building,” he said. “Everybody was in there motivated. Everybody seemed like they cared about what was going on this year.”

One of the main unknowns facing the Patriots entering this offseason is whether or not they’d be the same draw, or have the same aura, coming off a losing season, and not having Tom Brady in the building. At least when it comes to Kendrick Bourne, that Patriots’ excellence is still strong.

“It was awesome to hear that call. You know, like I said, one of the best organizations calling for me says something in itself,” Bourne explained. “It’s just it’s just awesome that I’m coming to a winning organization, a place where we’re going to compete for the Super Bowl every year.”

In answering the questions about his own free agency dealings with the organization, Bourne may have also answered a question many fans and those in the media have had as well. Do players around the league still view the Patriots as a place where they will not only have a chance to win, but enjoy the game in the process. Well, we now know there’s at least player who believes ‘yes.’

MORE: Remaining offseason questions for the Patriots

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.