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Deion Branch wishes he'd never left New England

There’s a lesson to be learned by plenty of young players who enjoy early-career success and who then assume that their success automatically will translate to membership on a new team.

Sometimes, it simply doesn’t.

Receiver Deion Branch found that out the hard way, after forcing his way out of New England because he signed a five-year deal as a second-round pick and didn’t want to play out that fifth year before getting a long-term contract.  (It’s hard to blame him in this regard, especially since the labor agreement signed in the year he was traded to Seattle reduced the maximum length of second-year contracts to four years.)

Now, after a bizarre week in which the Patriots abruptly traded a future Hall of Fame receiver, Branch is back — and he thinks he too would have been in line for Canton if he’d never left.

“I think about it a lot,” Branch told Peter King of SI.com regarding the issue of what might have been.  “My brother and my father do too.
They say, ‘You’d be ready to put a gold jacket on if you
stayed
.’”

But he’s not regretting the fact that he spent four seasons away from the Patriots.  Instead, he’s merely happy that he’s in New England again.

“It’s easy to say that now versus back then, and I
wish . . . well . . .  but we can’t go back on it. We could easily factor in
what went wrong, but right now, but I’m very thankful and honored to be
back where I belong, and I’m not looking back or anything,” Branch told King.

The end result?  Nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown for the 31-year-old wideout in his reunion with the quarterback who helped make Branch the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX.

“I wish every receiver had the opportunity to play
with this guy,” Branch said of Tom Brady.  “You truly see a champion when you watch Tom play, and it
rubs off on everybody.”

In other words, Branch won’t be telling Brady to get a haircut.  Of course, that’s something Branch never would have said to his last quarterback, either.  But for entirely different reasons.

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22 Responses to “Deion Branch wishes he'd never left New England”
  1. 2MuchTime says: Oct 18, 2010 10:43 AM

    I know many people just flat out hate the Patriots but it is a very well coached team and I wonder if Brady would have been this good somewhere else.

  2. Gautam says: Oct 18, 2010 10:47 AM

    “Of course, that’s something Branch never would have said to his last quarterback, either”…. took me a minute to realize that you were talking about Matt Hasselback instead of Charlie Whitehurst lol

  3. neilp says: Oct 18, 2010 10:55 AM

    Nobody is a bigger Deion Branch fan than I am but to mention Canton and Deion in the same paragraph is flat out ridiculous!!!
    He is just a great fit in this offense always was always will be, as a fan I too wish he had never left.

  4. No-Neck says: Oct 18, 2010 10:55 AM

    I can name about 39 million reasons why Branch can live with his decision to leave New England. I’m sure Seattle fans wishes he never left New England, 39 million reasons.

  5. Iron Wolf says: Oct 18, 2010 10:58 AM

    There isn’t much to hate the Patriots for now unless you want to hold on to the past or are just jealous. As much as it might pain some people to accept it, they are doing things the right way and are enjoying some success.

  6. Rudy says: Oct 18, 2010 11:05 AM

    The guy has been in the league what, 8 years? and he has never had a 1,000 yard season, and he thinks Canton would have been in his future had he not left? LMAO!!!!
    Deion, there aren’t a lot of #2-3 receivers in Canton regardless of which QB’s coat tails they try to ride in on……..

  7. Belichick for President says: Oct 18, 2010 11:05 AM

    In other words, Branch won’t be telling Brady to get a haircut. Of course, that’s something Branch never would have said to his last quarterback, either. But for entirely different reasons.
    Well played, Florio. I COC’ed (chuckled in chair)

  8. AttackPack213 says: Oct 18, 2010 11:22 AM

    I find all the speculation to be funny. What if Favre was never traded from the Falcons to the Packers? What if Randy Moss had just stayed in Minnesota to begin with? What if Clinton Portis had remained with the Broncos? Or if Elway was never traded to the Broncos? See we can what if all day long. None of these questions can be answered.

  9. borg says: Oct 18, 2010 11:26 AM

    Washington has no state income tax. Branch banked millions more by leaving New England. This is pro sports and players are hired mercenaries. Cash talks homey.

  10. Mike McCarthy's Moobs says: Oct 18, 2010 11:31 AM

    Deion Branch is just another one of those guys that is less than mediocre when he’s not paired with a Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback. There’s only going to be one Deion in Canton, and his last name sure ain’t gonna be Branch. Come on Mr. Branch, you’ve never topped 78 catches or 998 yards in any of your 9 NFL seasons. You’ve never even topped 5 touchdowns in a year!!! Even Don Hutson had over 1200 yards and 17 TD’s in a season, and that was back when they played 11 games a year in 1942.

  11. VASeahawk says: Oct 18, 2010 11:37 AM

    Seahawks wish he could have stayed on the field and given them even 1% Return on their investment. Hard for any QB, follicularly challenged or not, to pass the ball to a guy on IR. Good guy, but a total waste for the Hawks.
    Canton….that’s funny.

  12. PirateFreedom says: Oct 18, 2010 11:37 AM

    Branch never could beat double coverage the way real HOF candidates like Moss have, he lacked elite size and speed even in his prime.
    He was a great fit for the Pats offense but not for a gold jacket.
    That said he is far better than average and I’m glad the Pats got him back.

  13. Woodhead 4 prez says: Oct 18, 2010 11:55 AM

    Yeah def not HOF bound , but it really shows you what a receiver can do under a Hall of fame QB compared to um . Matt hasselback ? He will be on fantasy live with timmy here in a couple years . Hey at least he rejuvenated mike williams .

  14. jsickness says: Oct 18, 2010 11:56 AM

    Mike Williams vs. Chicago= 10 catches for 123 yards vs. Chicago.
    Deon Butler vs. Chicago = 4 catches for 41 yards and a TD.
    Butler’s numbers are close to what Branch usually did on a good week in Seattle the last few seasons. Butler is a younger, faster version of Branch at a quarter of the price. Dumping the contract, picking up a draft pick and not loosing any production at WR. Win for Seattle.
    Good luck in New England Deion, but Seattle has already moved on and can win while rebuilding in a bad division and a bad conference, minus the guaranteed millions.

  15. Unbreakable02215 says: Oct 18, 2010 12:34 PM

    Does anyone here know the term “reading retention” ? Probably not. His brother and old man said it, not HIM.

  16. DH says: Oct 18, 2010 12:36 PM

    As a Seahawks fan I wish Branch never left new england too!!! I liked Deion Branch and thought he could be good if he stayed healthy, but he couldn’t stay healthy.

  17. Ytsejamer1 says: Oct 18, 2010 12:37 PM

    I don’t know about Canton, but had he stayed, they would have easily had a fourth superbowl trophy in five seasons in 2006. If Branch kept up his production and more importantly his production in the postseason, then perhaps. I mean, Lynn Swann wasn’t much of a worldbeater in the regular season, but was unreal in the postseason….which is what he’s most recognized for.
    2007 would never have happened with Branch…they were good, but with Moss they lit the league on fire. That would NOT have happened.
    He got some good money which was deserved…Seattle shouldn’t have been the one paying him that money though. Glad he’s back.

  18. clovenhoof says: Oct 18, 2010 12:43 PM

    Branch to Canton — while absurd — isn’t as ridiculous as it sounded. He was entering his prime when he was traded, and I think his family is assuming he would have continued improving his stats. That would have likely resulted in a string of 1,000 yard seasons. Since the selection committee for the HOF puts great weight on rings, and in particular, Super Bowl MVP awards (how else do you explain Lynn Swann being there?) that’s the argument for the hypothetical.
    What they’re ignoring is that the problem with Branch was his attitude. He never got it, and didn’t get it until this year. You don’t get to Canton unless you put in the hours, and Branch stopped working the year he hit 990 yards.

  19. epping16 says: Oct 18, 2010 1:01 PM

    Deion has finally found something in common with Seahawk fans.

  20. Stone says: Oct 18, 2010 4:30 PM

    So all the injuries would have been avoided if he stayed in New England? Gold jacket in your dreams pal. Don’t believe the smoke being blown up your brown star.

  21. Pastabelly says: Oct 18, 2010 4:38 PM

    Branch needs to get a haircut.
    The Patriots needed the draft pick they got from the Branch trade because they forfeited their own in Spygate.
    I agree that the loss of Branch hurt in 2006 and they are still stinging from the loss of Asante Samuel. The Patriots should learn something from this as well . . . don’t be cheap with your own players and sign them early to the second contracts rather than waiting until they are about to expire. They will wind up with a 3rd round pick for Mankins. Just awful.

  22. BCGreg says: Oct 19, 2010 11:11 PM

    @ Rudy
    Lynn Swann never had a 1000 yard season either. If not for his playoff performances and the fact that he was on a Super Bowl team, then he wouldn’t have made it to Canton either. Now compare his numbers to Stanley Morgan, who did not play on a SB team. Tell me who should be in Canton? And Stallworth only had three 1000 yard seasons out of 12.
    Look at Branch’s playoff numbers in 2003 thru 2005 with NE and in 2006 with Seattle. If he stayed with NE, he would have had a deep playoff run in 2006 (Pats made the AFC title game) and he would have been on the 2007 team (Pats probably wouldn’t have traded for Welker–maybe they would have. Who knows?). Somehow I think Branch’s numbers would have been pretty damn good with Moss on the other side.
    Would he have made Canton? Who knows? But, he would have had a better chance IF he stayed in NE. That’s all his family was sayin’.

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