Patriots receiver Deion Branch checked in with the Dale & Holley show Friday morning to talk about his return to New England. Branch said it was easy to return because no bridges were burned when he held out and was traded to the Seahawks in September 2006.
"No bitterness and no resentment," Branch said. "At that time, I just really wish that we really could have gotten it done. But at the same time, I understand the business side of it. Sometimes it can work out. Sometimes you just can't get it right. And I just think it was no hatred amongst me or the New England organization. We just couldn't get the numbers and stuff lined up. And that stuff happens.
"And I think that's the best part about me returning is that I think we both know and feel like, 'Hey, we have some unfinished business, and we really want you in it,' and I really want to be here. That makes the process a whole lot more easier to return, knowing that we didn't leave on a sour note. When I left, everything was good. Coach [Bill] Belichick and myself continued to talk, Tom [Brady] and I continued to talk, along with the rest of the players on the team that I still keep in contact with. There were no hard feelings. I just wish at the time that we could have gotten it done and we wouldn't have lost those four years that were lost in between."
Branch renegotiated his contract this week that lessened his salary for 2011. "It's all about two organizations communicating to try to make ends meet," he said. "And I think we both took a little to give a little — you know what I'm saying? — on both parts. I just wasn't going to sit back and say, 'I want this, I want that.' I think we both sat down and we got everything done and it worked out for both us us. I think both parties are happy. It's a win-win for both parties."
Asked how much of the offense is the same as it was when Branch was in New England the first time, he said, "Probably about 25 percent of it is about the same. That's it. That's about it. And I think that's all I remember. Most of the plays that we're running are the same, but the verbiage is totally different, which makes it a little harder."
Added Branch: "This may be one of the hardest offenses to pick up. The best part about my situation is I came in during the season, so the only thing I'm doing is learning — I'm taking the test on one chapter, which is this game plan [for the Ravens]. If I would have come in the second or third week of training camp, now it's a whole lot harder."
Branch said his 31-year-old legs are holding up fine. "They're great. I actually feel like I'm about 27, to be honest. I'm being very honest about that, how I feel. And mentally I feel like I'm about 21, which is the most important thing."
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Jerry Thornton's first podcast explores sports stories that would make for interesting 30 for 30 documentaries.
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