This past Wednesday, The New England Patriots made the official signings of receiver Deion Branch, running back Lex Hilliard, linebacker Mike Rivera, linebacker Niko Koutouvides, tight end Kellen Winslow and the release of receiver Greg Salas.
A big storyline for this Sunday night’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is how the Patriot’s offense will look with out tight end Aaron Hernandez. After going down with an ankle injury, the Patriots hope to replenish his loss with the addition of Branch and Winslow.
On August 31, the Patriots trimmed their roster to 53 players. In doing so, Deion Branch, age 33, was a surprise cut. It is not surprising, however, to see him return. Branch even claimed he anticipated the call and though he had received an offer from a different team, chose to return to the Patriots. He stated that his family was the main reason for this.
He said, “First and foremost, my family is first. Doing things right by my family and put myself in the right position.”
Branch has spent six of his previous ten seasons with the Patriots. He is expected to enter back into the mix near the top of the receiver depth chart as the No. 4 option.
Last season, Branch started 15 games. He caught 51 passes for 702 yards and had five touchdowns. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke highly of him saying, “Deion has been a great player here for a long time. It’s always great to see him back. I was hoping it would happen. There’s just a lot of stability– he’s dependable, consistent. We’ll see what kind of role he plays.”
When asked about his role on the team, Branch seemed rather relaxed. He said, “That all depends on the game plan and whatever the coaches have for me. 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.”
The Patriots are now gearing up for the Baltimore Ravens this coming Sunday. Purchase your New England Patriot tickets here!