BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots are bringing back a fan, and Tom Brady, favorite for one more year.
The Patriots have signed wide receiver Deion Branch to a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
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Branch had 51 receptions for 702 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, with another eight receptions and a touchdown during the playoffs.
Branch was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2002 NFL draft, and spent his first four seasons in New England. He became a fan favorite for his big-game catches and friendly persona. He was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX after hauling in 11 catches for 133 yards in the Patriots 24-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
But after the 2005 season, when Branch had career highs in receptions (78) and receiving yards (990), he was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks after holding out for a contract extension.
After four-plus years in Seattle, he was re-acquired by New England after they parted ways with Randy Moss. Branch’s sixth-sense connection with Brady showed with his return, as he totaled 48 receptions for 706 yards and five scores in just 11 games.
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Branch returns to crowded wide receiving pool, with the Pats adding Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth this offseason. He will be competing with the three new additions, along with Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, and Tiquan Underwood.