Wide receiver Deion Branch didn’t take an “aging-player-coming-back-to-New-England-with-bad-knees discount” for nothing.
Branch and the Patriots restructured his contract this week as he chopped his base salary in 2011 from $5.95 million to $2.2 million, according to the Boston Globe.
But it’s not about the money for this two-time Super Bowl winner. It’s not even about getting back to the NFL’s biggest stage and grabbing some more hardware. Some of it has to do with the way he left in 2006, when money was the deciding factor.
“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,” Branch said on WEEI on Friday morning. “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,” he added. “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.”
But while his return to the club has been happy, getting used to the offense has been a little harder than imagined.
“Probably about 25 percent of [the offense] is about the same. That’s it. That’s about it,” he explained. “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.”