By Levan Reid, WBZ-TVBy Levan Reid

FOXBORO (CBS) – The word around the Patriots media water cooler is Deion Branch is close to seeing his last days with the team. The competition in camp at wide receiver is fierce and many feel that Deion may be on the short end here. Branch doesn’t think so though. The 33-year-old loves to compete. It keeps him honest.

“No, I’m competing every year,” Branch said. “Every year, man, I’m going to come out here—and that’s the fun part about the game—you get to come out here and compete against your teammates, score against the defense and also do some things with the guys you share the same room with. But overall I love it man, I love it.”

I guess the main reason people feel Deion is slipping is because he’s not practicing with the first team. Sometimes he hits the field with the second and third groups. Branch says, that means nothing and he also gave a reason why.

“That’s one thing that coach made clear: ‘You guys are going to be with different groups of guys.’ He wants to see guys work,” Branch said. “It’s not about what group you’re in, just go out there and get your job done. Do what you’re asked of, not who you’re on the football field with. Sometimes you see Ryan Mallett in there with the first group. Does that mean he’s going to start? I mean, I don’t know. That’s Coach Belichick’s decision. More importantly, it’s not all about what group we’re in, it’s all about getting our work in.”

So I guess while we all sit by the water cooler and try and figure out what the roster is going to look like, Branch feels secure and could care less how the media feels.

“My job is what I gotta do in the meeting room and on the football field. I think your job is just to critique. Your statement isn’t valid [laughs] — I’m going to be honest with you. I know everybody has their different opinions, and trust me, I respect everybody’s opinions, what we all do. But the person who makes final decisions is Coach Belichick.”


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