Branch, who has played two games with the Patriots since being reacquired earlier this month, said he wants to retire in New England. That desire helped lead to the trade from Seattle and then his decision to shave $2.75 million off the final year of his contract in 2011.
“Yeah, that was the reason why the move was made,” Branch said Thursday morning. “That was one of the biggest reasons. This is pretty much where I want to retire and end my career where I started.”
The Patriots selected Branch in the second round of the 2002 draft, and he played in New England for four seasons before a contract dispute led to his 2006 trade to the Seahawks. Then, a week after the Patriots shipped Randy Moss to Oakland, they reacquired Branch, and he has truly enjoyed his reunion.
After Branch said he wanted to retire in New England, he also expressed he wants to play past his current contract. Although, Branch will wait for that time to come before trying to work on an extension.
“Yeah, I’ve got more [in me] after next year, then we’ll figure that out after next year, how much more I have after that,” said Branch, who has 13 receptions for 137 yards and one touchdown in two games with the Patriots.
“It doesn’t even matter how much more I have,” he said. “It’s just all about how much more I want to do. You’ve got to think about it, man. I’ve been playing nine years, and next year will be 10 years. I’ll have missed 10 years of my kids’ life. This stuff is bigger than just football. I enjoy playing for my family, for my friends, for the fans, but I do love my kids and spending time with my wife and kids. That’s what is most important.
“I think once you get a little older, that stuff is starting to set in. I’m going to tell you, eventually Tom [Brady] will start speaking [about his family life] in a minute. It’s in the back of his mind. I know he hasn’t said it yet. I’m going to love competing and doing all those things. I think I’ll be able to compete for the rest of my life. I’m going to be a competitor, but at some point, you’ve got to realize, ‘OK, I’ve got a wife and kids at home that also need me as well.’
“But yeah, man, I’ll address that extra extended contract after next year,” Branch added. “I’ll figure out what’s what.”