The Colts might be thin at receiver, but it’s unclear if the Colts signed Deion Branch this week for anything other than just messing with the Patriots.
But even if that’s the case, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it will help.
Belichick had nothing but praise for Branch in a conference call with the Indianapolis media.
“Deion had a great career here,” Belichick said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “I think he was here for seven years or north thereof. Very smart, professional player. Great leader. One of the top guys we’ve had here in terms of off the field work ethic, leadership, intelligence, preparation, all those things. He had some very productive seasons here. He’s a tremendous person. He’s had a great career.”
Belichick was also piling on plaudits for Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.
“I have the utmost respect for Adam and the way he approaches his job, the way he does his job,” Belichick said. “It really seems like every year, you turn on the film and he’s making 50-yard field goals and kicking them right down the middle and doing the same things that he did 17, 18 years ago, however long it’s been since ’96. He’s a great player and a Hall of Fame kicker if there ever was one.”
Of course, Vinatieri and Branch have in common the fact the Patriots didn’t want them any more.
Vinatieri was allowed to walk in 2006 when they couldn’t work out a contract, and they cleared Branch out to make room for a young crop of wide receivers this offseason, transactions the Patriots are none the worse for now.