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.