BOSTON (CBS) – This weekend’s trip to Seattle is going to be kind of weird for at least one member of the New England Patriots.
Following his 2005 season — a 78 catch, 998-yard campaign — Deion Branch wanted a raise from the Patriots. They made an offer he didn’t like, and opted to hold out in hopes of getting a better deal. Branch sat out the Patriots’ mini camp, training camp and preseason, and made little progress with the team.
Instead, they told him he can go find a trade partner, and when the Jets and Seahawks came knocking, New England eventually sent him to Seattle for a 2007 first-round pick in early September (that pick turned into safety Brandon Meriweather).
Branch played four-plus seasons for the Seahawks until his return to New England in 2010, racking up 2,347 yards and 15 touchdowns on 190 receptions.
He played one game against New England in 2008, a 24-21 loss for the Seahawks in Seattle — one of 12 games they would lose that season. Deion remembers that game well, but not from his perspective.
“The loss,” Deion recalled. “Not the game that I had, I think just overall the loss.”
The game he had was one of his best of the year — one in which he missed eight of the first nine games with an injury. Branch had four receptions for 88 yards against his former club, and two of the four touchdowns he scored that season. He scored one to start the game, and another in the third quarter to put Seattle up 21-13.
But the Matt Cassel-led Patriots went on to win thanks to a big day by Wes Welker — 12 receptions for 134 yards and a key two-point conversion — and a touchdown run by Sammy Morris in the final three minutes.
With potential returns this week from tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was limited at practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and receiver Julien Edelman, who was limited on Thursday, Branch might not see the field all that much come Sunday.
He still has fond memories of his time in Seattle, but admits once the game starts it will all be business, and he’ll be focused on the Patriots getting their fourth win of the season.
“Hopefully we go out there and get a victory. That’s the most important feeling that I need to have, and that’s what I have,” he said.
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