FOXBOROUGH — Deion Branch indicated he didn’t know how much longer he would keep playing, or for how much longer the Patriots would want to extend him, but now that he was on his second tour of duty with the team it was his intention to retire from the organization.
“The Patriots were the team that drafted me and I want to retire a Patriot,” Branch said today in the Patriots’ locker room.
Branch, originally drafted by the Patriots out of Louisville in the second round (65th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, spent four seasons in Foxborough before he was traded to Seattle Sept. 11, 2006. On Oct. 12, the Patriots reacquired Branch in a trade with the Seahawks.
The 31-year-old veteran wide receiver, who will earn a guaranteed $5.47 million salary this season, agreed to renegotiate the last year of a six-year, $39 million deal he signed with the Seahawks in 2006, reducing his base salary in 2011 from $5.95 million to $2.2 million.
Branch’s restructured deal includes performance incentives for receptions and a Pro Bowl appearance that could boost his salary next season to $4 million.
At the time, Branch said, “I think both parties agreed on something and we worked it out. You got to know what you’re doing before and I know my purpose and why I did it, you know, and that’s the most important thing.”
Branch may have given a glimpse into one of those reasons when he expressed his desire to culminate his NFL career with the team that drafted him.