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BOSTON (CBS) – Deion Branch is back with the New England Patriots, and the veteran receiver couldn’t be happier.
“It’s always good to be here. I love it here,” Branch said from the Patriots locker room on Wednesday. “It’s where I want to be.”
Waiting for Branch inside Gillette Stadium were his old locker and #84 jersey. Following his release from the team last month, the 33-year-old spent some quality time with his family while fielding multiple offers from other teams.
But his heart is in New England, so he gladly said yes when the Patriots came calling this week.
“I do see myself finishing my career here,” said Branch. “As far as turning down other teams that was a family decision and doing what was best for me.”
Fitting in with the Patriots won’t be hard for Branch, who during his six seasons with the team has become one of Tom Brady’s all-time favorite targets.
“Deion has just been a great player here for a long time, so it’s always great to see him back,” Brady said Wednesday. “There’s just a lot of stability. He’s that kind of player: dependable, consistent. So we’ll see what kind of role he plays.
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With Aaron Hernandez lost for at least a month with an ankle injury, Branch should see some immediate game-time come Sunday night against the Ravens. Though he isn’t sure what his role will be at the moment, Branch is ready to do whatever is asked of him.
“That all depends on the game plan and whatever the coaches have for me,” he said of his role with the team. “I’m going to do whatever they as of me, whether that be special teams, offense, defense. As far within the offense, that comes within the game plan.”
“Everything except the defensive line,” Branch said with a chuckle when asked about taking some defensive snaps.
Branch On Return To Patriots:
Branch said he won’t have too much trouble fitting in to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system, although it might take a day or two to get re-acclimated.
“I love what Josh is doing, how they’re shuffling the personnel around, the things they’re doing with the guys. How they stick guys in certain positions to make plays. My job is to do whatever they ask me to,” he said. “They have a couple new plays, but it shouldn’t take long; just a day or so.”
As for being released, Branch doesn’t hold any hard feelings. Even though he made his case in the preseason, and many felt did enough to earn a roster spot, it’s all a part of the business side of the NFL.
“You can’t assume anything in this league. This is the NFL, you can’t assume,” said Branch. “If you’re around long enough, which I’m very thankful and be blessed to be a part of, you will go through some things – getting released or getting traded.”
Tune in to the Patriots-Ravens game Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Patriots Preview begins at 5pm with full postgame coverage following the game!