Newly acquired Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch addresses the media during his press conference on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
DB: First of all I'd like to thank God for one, for blessing me with the opportunity to come back and be a part of a great organization, and also be a part of another great organization back in Seattle. Unfortunately things didn't work out, but that's part of the business, and I'm very thankful to be back.
Q: Does it look the same as when you left?
DB: Yeah, sort of. Except for all the new stuff Mr. [Robert] Kraft put out here in the parking lot. That stuff wasn't here when I was here. All the hotels. What is this a mall now? Strip mall. You got a cinema. It's a lot of stuff I think. There's a lot of great things that are going on around here that are pretty new. But it feels pretty good though.
Q: How does it feel to be back?
DB: It feels good. Still going through a lot of things. Today was pretty rough for me. A lot of traveling, I've been on two or three flights in less than 72 hours. Coach [Bill Belichick] is helping me feel through . Tom [Brady] is throwing a lot of stuff at me as usual, and I'm just taking everything in as much as I can.
Q: Is the playbook different than when you left?
DB: It's a little different. It's a little different, but some of the concepts are still the same. I still remember some plays. The crazy part is they didn't call those plays today. The ones I remember I thought I could just get in there, but they didn't call those plays. Coach had to pretty much filled me in before I ran in practice.
Q: Are you going to be ready for Sunday?
DB: Yeah, I hope so. I hope I'm showing Coach Belichick enough today. I know there's going to be a little bit more tomorrow and Thursday and Friday. He makes that decision.
Q: How are you a different player than you were four years ago?
DB: A lot more knowledge. I understand the game of football. I truly understand the game and how to study people, how to study guys, my opponent. I think my first four years here I was just playing off all athleticism, and I was getting away with it for a little bit. There were a couple games here and there back in the past. I think now I know how to sit down and break down the film and watch my opponent.
Q: (On his role with the team...)
DB: I'm going to try my best. I'm just a piece of the puzzle. I'm not the answer to anything, I'm just a piece of the puzzle. I think these guys have already been stitched and stoned with the things they're doing. Coach Belichick has been running the ship the same way: straightforward. You get in, do your job, and that's that. That's what I'm going to do.
Q: (On the opportunity to be back in New England...)
DB: I don't think he was looking at that. I just think the opportunity presented itself, and they took another shot at it.
Q: (On entering the locker room and seeing that his locker is next to Tom Brady's...)
DB: I don't think it was me looking for where the locker was. I just think it was me [looking at] some of the old faces and some of the new faces. Seeing how a lot has changed in the locker room from the time that I left to now. Still seeing guys like Kevin Faulk put a smile on my face. Matt Light, Dan Koppen, and always Tom [Brady]. Seeing veteran guys like big [Gerard] Warren, Fred Taylor. These guys want to win. And I'm just very thankful to be here.
Q: Was Tom Brady throwing plays at you as soon as you got here?
DB: Exactly. A lot of schooling. Going over a lot of plays, and he was pretty much just throwing it at me. I'd say about 10 minutes on the field he came at me with the same plays just to make sure he's tuning me up right now. We're moving pretty fast, hopefully we can just show it on the field at practice.
Q: (On if he can replace Randy Moss...)
DB: That's the first thing I wanted to let you all know: I'm not here to replace Randy [Moss]. I'm not Randy Moss. I wasn't Randy Moss when I was here. And I'm not here to replace him. My job is to go out, and do what the offense asks of me to do, and that's what I'm going to do.
Q: (On if he thought he would be back in New England after he left...)
DB: Not really. I didn't. Not at the time. But like I said I think the opportunity presented itself, and they took a shot at it and it worked.
Q: (On if he thought he would be back in New England this year...)
DB: I thought last year more than this year, actually. Probably the year before that, too. I actually thought probably last year a little bit more. There were a lot of things going on back in Seattle last year, not this season, but last year with Mr. [Tim] Ruskell getting ready to step down. A lot of stuff happened, so I thought that the guys were probably going to start making changes, and I actually thought I was going to be one of the guys. I wasn't, and stayed there and everything was cool.
Q: (On how the trade came about...)
DB: It's hard to say in this business what happens. I'm pretty sure they asked [Randy] Moss the same thing. So much stuff happens during the course of time that you're playing this game, you just have to take it with a grain of salt and keep moving. You've got to be straightforward and approach the game that way, and know that there will be changes on every team, every year, period. I'm not an exception.
Q: How much did you stay in touch with Tom Brady during your time in Seattle?
DB: No, we pretty much just kept in contact. Phone calls, texts. The only time we got an opportunity to see each other was pretty much during the Super Bowl times. The times that you all weren't in it. When the Patriots weren't playing, then I got an opportunity to see him. Other than that, he's out there shooting all those commercials and stuff, I didn't get an opportunity to see him. But other than that just phone calls and texts.
Q: Do you feel like this is a homecoming?
DB: I do have that feeling. It'll really set in probably [on] game day. Just to be back here, especially with this guy, and this team, under the same coach that brought me in. This staff is pretty much still the same except for a couple guys here and there. I do feel like I'm back at home.
Q: (On his contract situation with the team...)
DB: There's a couple things that should probably be talked about. That'll be the dealings with my agent and the organization, but I'm ready to make some things work.
Q: Are you going to ask for your old number back?
DB: No, I think Wes [Welker] came in and did a great job. He deserved it. I'm just going to get a number higher, one number higher than his, since I'm taller than him. So, that'll work.
Q: Were any of the other receivers here when you were four years ago?
DB: None. Nobody was there. Like I said that's part of the business. They find a way to get the job done. I think when you have a quarterback such as Tom [Brady] you can do a lot of things. You just got to make sure you put the right guys in the right place. You just follow this guy's lead. He won't lead you in the wrong direction.
Q: What went wrong in Seattle? Did it have to do with injuries?
DB: A lot of things happened. I don't think it had anything to do with injuries. Who knows. It could be personnel decisions. Like I said, [it's] just part of the business. That's the way things spin. I think both sides agreed to a decision that was made. I'm very thankful, like I said, to be part of the organization in the past, and they're going to do great things. I think Mr. [John] Schneider and Coach [Pete] Carroll. They're shaping that team up to go in the right direction.
Q: Do you have any regrets about leaving the Patriots in the first place?
DB: No regrets. I wish it never happened, but no regrets. When I left there wasn't any issues between me and Coach Belichick. None at all. We talked during the course of the year. Not a lot, but I spoke to him, and I truly thanked him, but we didn't leave on a bad note. And I think that's why it was so easy to return, because we both understood what was going on.
Q: How were you able to separate the personal and the football side when leaving the team in 2004?
DB: Just like I have to be able to separate football when I go home with my family. You have to find a way to make it happen. We did that. It wasn't a personal issue. I wasn't mad at coach, he wasn't mad at me, we just couldn't come to an agreement and that stuff happens.
Q: Did you still have your house here?
DB: I just sold it. I told my wife, 'As soon as I sell the condo, now I'm back.'
Q: When did you sell it?
DB: Last year. Actually Derrick Burgess was living in it for a minute, and then he left, I sold it, and then a couple months later I'm back.