"I still love coach [Bill] Belichick, and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there," Branch told the Boston Herald.
Branch, who unceremoniously left the Patriots in September of 2006 after a lengthy contract dispute, is now 30 years old and isn't thought to be very wanted in Seattle, where he's played ever since. With more than $10 million owed to him over the next two seasons, production (45 catches, two touchdowns in 2009) that doesn't even come close to warranting that kind of money and injury concerns (he's missed an average of four games per season in Seattle), trading for the wideout would be extremely costly for any team. With the Patriots having a number of important free agents unsigned, it's unlikely they'd shell out all those big bucks on the hope that Branch could rekindle the magic connection he once shared with Tom Brady.
In doing so, of course, they run the risk of another team picking up Branch via trade and missing out on the opportunity. If no team makes a trade for him, then it would seem like the Patriots would be interested in bringing Branch back to Foxboro.
"I still talk to Tom to this day, and the crazy part is, you never lose that relationship with guys, especially when you do something special, which is what we did in my first four years in New England," Branch told the Herald. "I still talk with half of the team. … It's a special bond. For us to reunite, I don?t know. I would probably be crying at the press conference, if it happens."
Branch told the Herald that his departure from New England wasn't due to any ill will.
"I never wanted to leave, nor did coach Belichick and his staff and the organization want me to leave, either," Branch said. "We just couldn?t get the contractual part down. We just couldn?t come to an agreement. And that stuff happens."
There's some more "stuff" that will be happening with Branch over the next month or two, and it's safe to assume the Patriots will have an eye on all of it.