FOXBORO, Mass. — Two years ago, almost to the day, Deion
Branch made his triumphant return to the New England Patriots. While he has
found greener pastures in the suburbs of Foxboro, Mass. over the past few
seasons, the team he left behind has been searching for similar results.
The Seahawks have undergone quite the transformation since
Branch skipped town. There's a rookie quarterback under center now, a Pro Bowl
running back in the backfield and a defense that ranks near the top of the league
in almost every category — a stark contrast from his final seasons in Seattle.
But even with all the changes, after spending nearly five years in the Pacific
Northwest, Branch is excited to return.
"Yeah I will. I know I will," Branch said of the
excitement come Sunday. "That stuff happens, it comes with the territory.
I think that stuff happens with every individual who plays this game. It's
awesome to get the chance to play against some of your old teammates."
Sadly, there aren't all that many teammates left for Branch
to reconnect with at this point. There might only be a few handfuls of guys
remaining from Branch's tenure with the Seahawks, but one of them is still
standing on the sidelines running the show.
Pete Carroll took over as Seahawks head coach just before
the 2010 season, giving Branch just a few months under his leadership before
the Week 5 trade. But Branch still has some fond memories of the energetic
"I enjoyed it. I enjoyed my time with coach
Carroll," Branch said of his brief time with him in 2010. " You see
that [excitement] with coach Carroll. He's a great guy."
While Branch is looking forward to reconnecting with Carroll
and some of the guys who remain from his time along Puget Sound, he also knows
that this homecoming isn't exactly a social call.
"I think it's always good to go back and see some of
your old guys," Branch said. "But what time [do] we play at one
o'clock? Or four? Once the whistle blows and it's time to play the game, all
the other stuff goes out the window."
For Branch, he obviously feels drawn to Seattle given his
time there. But he's very aware that the past is the past and that his focus
now is on what's best for the New England Patriots.
"Special feelings?" Branch responded to a
reporter's questions with a smile. "Yeah, hopefully we go out there and get
the victory. That's the most important feeling I need to have and that I have."
The feelings that Branch has for the place he once called
home are clearly sentimental for he and his family.
But this visit is still about business for Branch, and he knows what's most
important come kickoff.
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