FOXBORO -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday he's not distracted by a story out of New York suggesting Rob Gronkowski was distracted Sunday by thoughts of a female acquaintance. The New York Post reported that Gronkowski was reprimanded by the Patriots earlier this year for posing naked on the cover of ESPN Magazine's "Body Issue" and that former girlfriend and porn star Britney Maclin (a.k.a.

According to a Boston Globe report, offensive lineman Brian Waters turned down a significant pay raise from the Patriots, who have been trying to lure the veteran from his home in Texas. 

Waters was due about $1.4 million this year but reportedly was offered $4 million during training camp. However, Waters, a married father of five, apparently is not willing to separate from his family for the season. He remains on the reserve/retired list. 

FOXBORO -- In a move first reported on Tuesday by The Boston Globe, the Patriots officially announced the re-signing of Deion Branch to their roster on Wednesday morning. The team also added tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Niko Koutouvides. 

Branch and Koutouvides were among the final cuts on roster cutdown day on Aug. 31. Winslow was added to the roster after Aaron Hernandez suffered a sprained right ankle on Sunday. Hernandez is expected to miss at least the next several weeks. 

Wide receiver Deion Branch is back with the Patriots, according to a report from Boston.com. The 33-year-old Branch, who was released late last month in a final round of cuts, has played 10 years in the NFL, including the better part of six seasons with the Patriots. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Branch had 51 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns last season for New England.

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The Patriots released wide receiver wide receiver Greg Salas, linebacker Mike Rivera and fullback Lex Hilliard on Tuesday afternoon, according to ESPN Boston. All three players have seen limited action over the course of the first two games of the regular season: Salas hasn't caught a pass, while Rivera hasn't recorded a single tackle and Hilliard has one carry for two yards.

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The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. to a one-year contract, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 29-year-old Winslow, who was cut earlier this month by the Seahawks because of a reported knee problem, caught 75 passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns with the Buccaneers last season, and he's recorded at least 66 catches while accounting for 730 or more receiving yards in each of the last three years. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder was taken in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Browns. 

Former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham, in an interview with the Mut & Merloni show, suggested that New England's offense may benefit in the long-run from a diminished dependency on Wes Welker at the start of the season. Chatham suggested that with the offense (under a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels) in a formative stage of its transition, the Patriots can benefit from a diversified approach. 

The Patriots never lose these games. 

Think about it: When the Patriots, with Tom Brady at quarterback, lose regular-season games at home, it's usually to an NFL heavyweight, an A-Lister.



KIRK MINIHANE

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According to ESPN.com, the Patriots signed tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. to a one-year contract, days after Aaron Hernandez went down with a right ankle injury. Winslow caught 75 passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, and he's recorded at least 66 catches while accounting for 730 or more receiving yards in each of the last three years.

FOXBORO -- Julian Edelman knows his role has changed this season.