|Deion Branch on why he stayed in New England: ‘First and foremost, my family’||09.19.12 at 3:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Everyone in and around the Patriots locker room figured Deion Branch returning to the team was a mere formality of when, not if.
So, when over 20 reporters descended upon his locker – which remained in tact since his release on Aug. 31 – Branch was asked what it was like to be back with the team he’s had so much success, including MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX.
“Across the board, whether it was here, I always had to weigh my options,” Branch said. “That’s what I’m going to do first and foremost, weigh my options for my family and myself. But to get the call, besides some of the other calls, I think this was more important here.”
Branch acknowledged that other NFL teams indeed did reach out to him but he wanted to return to the Patriots. Why?
“First and foremost, my family is first,” Branch said. “Doing the things right by my family and put myself in the right position.”
Branch and Bill Belichick spoke about why he was cut at the time and how he might be used in coming back to New England for a second time in three years. The Patriots traded him in 2006 before being re-acquired in 2010 from Seattle, shortly after Randy Moss was shipped off to Minnesota.
“I’ll keep that between coach and myself,” Branch said. “It was very understanding. I think, overall, if you play this game long enough, I’m pretty sure every guy in this building will go through it. And I mean that, every guy. And that comes with time, most of all you’re a team player, the team’s going to do what’s best for the team, and me personally, I’m going to do what’s best for Deion.”
Branch said he’s not going to worry about how the Patriots choose to use him.
“That all depends on the game plan and whatever the coaches have for me,” said Branch. “I’m going to do whatever they ask of me, whether that be special teams, offense, defense, I’m going to do that. As far as within the offense, that comes with the game plan.”
Branch has been busy taking care of his kids, leaving some time to keep up on the Patriots but not a lot.
“I watched the first game, and caught the second half of the second game,” he continued. “When you have kids, there ain’t too much free time.”
Branch had five touchdown receptions and 702 receiving yards last season. He became a free agent after the season and re-signed on March 22.
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