BOSTON (CBS) — Friday is a day full of tough decisions for the Patriots as they cut their roster down to 53 players, so nothing should be all that surprising. Still, this one is.
The Patriots have cut wide receiver Deion Branch, according to The Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young.
Shortly after news broke, Branch tweeted, “Truly thankful for all the support from everybody. I Love You guys #LovePeaceandHappiness”
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald later tweeted, “Source close to Deion Branch says the receiver still holds hope of a return to Foxboro.”
Branch, 33, was in a fierce competition for a roster spot this camp, but he appeared to have won a spot last week when the team cut Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney.
Branch caught 51 passes last season, fourth-most on the team, for 702 yards and five touchdowns. In 2010, in just 11 games with the Patriots, he caught 48 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns.
With Branch gone, the Patriots are left with Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd as the primary wide receivers, with Julian Edelman, Jesse Holley, Matthew Slater and Jeremy Ebert still on the roster (for now).
The Patriots’ cuts are due by 9 p.m. Friday.
The team also cut veteran center Dan Koppen, as well as backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and safety James Ihedigbo.