Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne leaves the field after being injured during New England’s 31-17 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tore his right ACL in Sunday’s loss at Miami and will miss the rest of the season, according to a source.

There is hope Bourne could recover in time for the start of training camp next summer, though not necessarily with the Patriots. He is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency this spring.

The 28-year-old got hurt on a sideline tackle after he caught a pass early in Sunday’s fourth quarter. Bourne is the Patriots’ leading receiver in all major categories, with 37 catches for 406 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also logged 73% of the team’s offensive snaps through eight games, highest among the receivers.

Bourne was enjoying a rebound season after making significant changes to his offseason routine and diet. He had already surpassed his season total for catches last year (35) and was tracking for career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

Bourne is also regarded as one of the most energetic players in the team’s locker room. He is one of several starters the Patriots have lost to injury this season, including Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon and rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. Without him, the Pats’ receiver depth is down to DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Demario Douglas, Jalen Reagor, Tyquan Thornton and rookie Kayshon Boutte.

Parker suffered a head injury in Sunday’s game and did not return, and Smith-Schuster returned from a two-game absence to find himself fifth on the depth chart. He has 89 yards total on the season. Douglas, a sixth-round rookie, is now the Pats’ leading healthy receiver with 222 yards.


Reagor has just one catch in four game appearances. Thornton was a healthy scratch Sunday, and Boutte hasn’t taken any snaps since the season opener. They have eight and zero yards, respectively, on the season.

Bourne should soon be on injured reserve, which will create an open roster spot.

Patriots Dolphins Football

Bill Belichick is both the Patriots head coach and their defacto generl manager. Belichick doesn’t work alone, but any personnel decisions are ultimately his call. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

BELICHICK IS THE head coach of the New England Patriots. He’s also the de facto general manager. So when it comes to personnel, Belichick has the final say on any moves made.

But let’s be clear: That doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ coach is personally combing through the entire league looking for trade candidates. No one has that sort of time.

“There’s no way I could possibly do that,” Belichick said Monday. “Coaching is a full-time job. Personnel’s a full-time job. At some point, that can merge together and be on the same page and figure out what’s best for the team. But you can’t be a full-time personnel person and be a full-time coach. It’s impossible.”

So how do the Patriots make moves? That’s where the Patriots’ personnel department comes in. That department is currently led by Matt Groh, New England’s director of player personnel. In the past, it was led by the likes of Scott Pioli and Nick Caserio, who later went on to take on full general manager gigs elsewhere in the league.


Right now, Groh is in charge of monitoring personnel across the league and identifying opportunities to make the team better. Meanwhile, Belichick says his job is to coach the team. However, he also has the final say on personnel (which is why guys likes Caserio and Pioli ended up leaving for other jobs).

As Belichick noted, there were over 1,400 players who were made available at the roster cut deadline this year. That’s a tremendous amount of information to sift through. The coach says he’s been lucky to have talented personnel execs like Pioli, Caserio and now Groh to help sort through all of it.

“I can’t keep track of all the personnel in the league. You kidding me?” Belichick said. “And out of the league and guys that are available and free agent workouts and all that? That’s not just one person in the personnel apartment. That’s pro personnel, college personnel, advanced scouting. There’s a lot of people involved in that, just like there’s a lot of people involved in the coaching end of it.”

The key thing for the Patriots is that the personnel department comes together with the coach departments to handle decisions for the team – with Belichick having the final say, not a separate general manager.

“Personnel department handles personnel. Coaching department handles coaching,” Belichick said. “We join together on a regular basis to talk about both. If things come up that are applicable, then we act on it. So if we need something on the coaching end, we make a personal department aware of that. If they see an opportunity that would help the team, then we talk about that. That’s the same way it’s been ever since I’ve been here. Different people doing it, but that’s what we do.”

These are distinctions that merit observation as the Patriots approach the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday. As of Monday, the Patriots have just returned from their trip to Miami. Now, the focus shifts to pouring through all the information gathered to see if a deal can be made.

Ultimately, that decision comes down to Belichick.

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