BOSTON (CBS) — When Kendrick Bourne agreed to sign with the Patriots last week, he received a ton of support from his new teammates. One of the first people to reach out to the wide receiver was his new quarterback, Cam Newton, who FaceTimed with Bourne to welcome him to the team.

For someone who grew up watching Newton, mesmerized by what the quarterback could do on the field, it was a bit of a surreal moment for Bourne. Now he’s looking forward to getting to work with his new QB.

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“It was awesome talking to him,” Bourne told reporters on his introductory Zoom meeting on Monday. “I told him I’ve been a fan for a long time.”

While Newton did not enjoy his usual amount of success in his first year with the Patriots, Bourne is confident that things will turn around with New England’s revamped roster in 2021. In addition to having some talented targets in Bourne, Nelson Agholor and tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry joining the New England offense via free agency, Bourne also knows that Newton is hard at work to prove that last season’s struggles were just a fluke.

Bourne has heard that Newton’s work ethic, which included some long days and night inside Gillette Stadium last season, is second to none.

“His work ethic, that’s the main thing that stands out to me,” Bourne said to Newton. “Everything he’s been through these last few years, just how he works, that always takes over everything. So he’s earned this opportunities. He’s earned this contract this year and I know he’s gonna have awesome year.

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“I’m just excited to play with him. I told him, ‘I’ve been watching you since I was a young guy man, so it’s an honor to just play with you, pick your brain and get out there with you and help you get better. I know you’re gonna help me get better,'” said Bourne. “All it takes is one year to become who you want to be. He has another opportunity, and I think he’s going to ball out with the help they brought in. It was a rebuilding year and he was part of that. Now he has some help and he knows what is around him, which is awesome.”

Bourne is out in Southern California where he’s been catching passes from Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham. He also has an invite to join Newton in Atlanta to get in some offseason work.

Those sessions will help the four-year receiver immerse himself in the New England playbook, which is his top priority at the moment.

“Bill [Belichick] told us how Randy Moss came in and all he did was focus on the playbook, and he had the best season of his career,” Bourne said of his interactions with his new coach. “I think it’s going to be an awesome year. The guys they’re bringing in are going to glue well. If we know what we’re doing, there won’t be many mistakes. I think it’s all on that.

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“The offense probably is complex, but football is hard,” he added. “Everything about football is hard, so you have to have the mindset of a hard worker.”

CBSBoston.com Staff