Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch, acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for a fourth-round draft pick Monday night, stepped out from a 2006 time machine into yesterday's press conference.
"[All the new stuff Mr. [Robert] Kraft put out here in the parking lot]...wasn't here when I was here," Branch told reporters. "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 [to be back] though."
In Branch's first stint with the Pats, from 2002 to 2005, he caught 213 passes in 53 regular-season games. He was the MVP for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. In 2006, he left New England and went Seattle-bound when a contract agreement could not be reached between him and his championship team.
Now he's glad to be back.
"No regrets. I wish [me leaving the Patriots had] never happened, but no regrets," No. 84 said. "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."
And ready to go.
"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," said Branch, who's caught 13 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown for the Seahawks this year, according to ESPNBoston.com. "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."
ESPNBoston.com reports Patriots offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, who sustained a back injury during training camp, was placed on the injured reserve yesterday, which opens a spot on the 53-man roster for incoming Branch.
Read a similar story in the Boston Globe.