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Maroney agrees; Branch is a no-show

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (July 28, 2006) -- The New England Patriots signed running back Laurence Maroney, their first-round draft pick, but were missing top receiver Deion Branch and Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour when two-a-day workouts began.

Terms of the deal with Maroney, the former University of Minnesota running back, were not disclosed. The MetroWest Daily News of Framingham, which first reported the signing, said Maroney agreed to a five-year contract.

Maroney practiced with the Patriots on July 28 and is expected to compete for playing time with veterans Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk.

Seymour, the team's defensive captain, was among 10 players placed on New England's physically unable to perform list. Branch's absence has nothing to do with his health.

Entering his fifth season, Branch wants more than the $1.045 million he's scheduled to make this year, the last season of his original contract. There have been negotiations about an extension, but Jason Chayut, Branch's agent, said this week the player wouldn't be in camp "until he feels he's being treated fairly," The Boston Globe reported.

Branch, who also missed mandatory minicamp in June, can be fined $14,000 for each day he stays away from training camp.

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