‘I do not agree with him on that’: Deion Branch responded to Cassius Marsh’s comments about the Patriots

"I never had a situation where I felt myself or any of my former teammates felt like they were mistreated."

Deion Branch
Deion Branch with the Patriots in 2012. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

As someone who was once fined more than $600,000 by the Patriots over the course of a lengthy 2006 holdout, Deion Branch has more reason than most to theoretically agree with recent comments made by former New England linebacker Cassius Marsh about how the team treats its players “like crap.”

And yet, Branch — who played in New England for seven seasons across two separate stints — disagreed. While Marsh recently spoke at length on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast about why the Patriots’ methodology was “no fun,” Branch took a more nuanced line.

Speaking on NBC Sports Boston during a Tuesday interview, the former Patriots wide receiver addressed Marsh’s comments.


“You know what you can say is it’s two different sides,” said Branch. “You look at it, you have the business side of things, and then you’re actually playing the game of football.”

Branch offered that he “understood” Marsh’s comments in the specific context of how the Patriots handle the business of the team. During his prime years as a receiver, Branch — who won a Super Bowl MVP award amid back-to-back championship wins with New England in 2003-2004 — eventually sought a contract he felt was worth his value.

When he couldn’t agree on a new deal with the Patriots in 2006, he held out. The lengthy holdout led to considerable fines ($14,000 per day), eventually totaling more than half a million dollars. The episode — which also included the NFLPA filing a grievance on Branch’s behalf against the Patriots — concluded when New England finally traded him to the Seattle Seahawks that September for a 2007 first-round pick.

But as Branch pointed out, Marsh’s problems were different. Then with the Patriots in 2017, Marsh was waived at midseason following a halftime incident in which he reportedly threw a Gatorade jug over a lack of playing time.

“He wasn’t in a contractual situation,” Branch pointed out. “So a lot of guys may feel sometimes, having a contractual situation, that may be a case where OK, I was little disappointed in that.”


“But as far as playing the game in New England, I do not agree with him on that,” Branch said in response to Marsh’s charges. “I never had a situation where I felt myself or any of my former teammates felt like they were mistreated. Guys are always vying and fighting for game-time and want to play, want to be a part of the team and feel like they’re a part of the team other than just practicing every day and not playing in the games. But as far as guys saying they’re being mistreated, I haven’t heard that.”

Branch agreed with Marsh that the Patriots demand more than most organizations, but saw it in a different light.

“It’s more demanding, and it starts at the top. That’s what you expect, that’s what you want,” Branch explained.

Referencing his Seattle tenure following the 2006 trade, Branch noted that while he desired a move away from New England at the time, he ultimately wanted to return to play again for Bill Belichick.

“I was traded and I had the opportunity to test the other side of the water,” Branch said of going to the Seahawks. “It just wasn’t the same. I was begging to return, and I enjoyed my second stint back in New England.”


“Overall, it was a great journey for myself,” Branch concluded of his time playing for the Patriots.

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