Branch: ‘I’m not here to replace Randy’


Still in his cleats and padded pants, Deion Branch just spent a few minutes with media members upon his return to the Patriots after a four-plus year absence.

He opened by saying, “First of all I’d like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to come back to a great organization, and to be part of another great organization in Seattle; unfortunately things didn’t work out, but that’s part of the business…I’m thankful to be back.”

Other highlights from the session:

* On whether he thinks he’s replacing Randy Moss:
“Not here to replace Randy. I’m not Randy. I wasn’t Randy Moss when I was here and I’m not here to replace him.”


* Branch does remember some of the plays in the Pats’ playbook, but said, “Funny thing, they didn’t call those plays today.” Branch walked onto the practice field this afternoon with Tom Brady and said Brady was peppering him with different plays as they walked. He is hoping to play on Sunday against Baltimore, provided he shows Bill Belichick enough during this week of practices to earn a spot on the field.

* On whether he ever expected to return to New England:
“It’s hard to say in this business what happens. I’m sure they asked Moss the same thing [when he returned to Minnesota]. So much stuff happens during the course of time you’re playing this game; you have to take it with a grain of salt and keep moving…there will be changes on every team, every year, period.”

* Branch also said that now he understands the game of football, and that early in his career there were times when he got by on his athleticism; now he studies opponents and understands how to succeed against them; the fact that he maintained a good relationship with Bill Belichick and was able to separate business and personal feelings when he was traded in 2006 made it easy to come back; and that he does have the feeling that he’s home being back with the Pats. He also indicated that he is willing to restructure his contract, which ends after 2011; he is currently scheduled to make $5.95 million next year.

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