Deion Branch is back with the Patriots

AP

When the Patriots placed wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth on injured reserve Tuesday, there were reports that Deion Branch would be heading back to town to take his place on the roster.

Everything has gone exactly as expected. The Patriots announced that Branch is back with the team a little less than a month after they released him. That was actually the second time that the Pats released Branch this season. He didn’t make the club in August, but returned in September and played in seven games before getting shuffled off again after suffering a hamstring injury.

His return would hardly have been a surprise without Tuesday’s reports. As Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com points out, the team kept his locker intact after Branch was released in November.

With Stallworth out, the Patriots were extremely thin at receiver and Branch gives them a player who obviously knows the offense and Tom Brady. He doesn’t give them the same deep threat that Stallworth flashed with a 63-yard touchdown on his only catch of the season, but the familiarity is still a plus at this point in the season.