FOXBORO, Mass. — In a way, Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch can empathize with teammate Wes Welker's contract situation.
Five years ago, Branch held out during the final season of his rookie deal before the Patriots traded him to Seattle. Since returning to New England last year, Branch has admitted to being much happier by returning to where his career took off. Through the course of the process, Branch realized he was best suited to stay with the Patriots.
Welker, who is in the final season of his contract, hasn't held out or brought up his desire to work out a new deal. At his most revealing times, he's said he wishes to stay in New England, and he credited a lot of his success to quarterback Tom Brady.
Branch, who is again in a contract year, could be in a position to lend some advice to Welker, but the elder statesman said Welker hasn't ever let the contract come up in conversation.
"There's nothing to talk about right now, nothing contractual," Branch said. "This is all about playing ball. He'll have to deal with that. Everybody has to deal with their situation once the season ends with contract talks. There's nothing to talk about really."
Branch said he dealt with it in the same way — never making the contract an issue with his teammates.
"Even when I was going through it, I never talked about it because there's nothing to talk about once the season starts," Branch said. "I think all of that stuff will take care of itself once everything is settled and the season is over to get in there and get it done."
But if Welker asked Branch for some advice?
"Honestly, I'll talk to Wes about anything, but as far as his personal business, that's his business," Branch said. "I don't do the contracts, so I can't sit up and say, 'Hey, yeah, you have to do this and do that.' I think as far as contract talks, none of that will be going on now until after the Super Bowl."