FOXBORO, Mass. — Just before the media portion of Friday’s New England Patriots practice concluded, defensive tackle Alan Branch was seen jogging off the field and into the bowels of Gillette Stadium.
In the moment, that was a tad concerning. The Patriots already are down one D-tackle withÂ MalcomÂ Brown expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers with an ankle injury. If Branch was injured, too? Yikes. That would not be good for New England’s defense.
Branch allayed those worries after practice, however, offering a valid — and unfiltered — explanation for his departure from the field.
“I had to take a dump,” he said.
Branch returned to practice after his trip to the restroom. He said the Patriots’ defensive line won’t be under any pressure Sunday with Brown — arguably the unit’s best player this season — unavailable.
“I wouldn’t say added pressure,” the 32-year-old said. “We all go out there and try to make sure we do our best. We don’t want to let the rest of the team down. We’ve got a big gap to fill with MalcomÂ not being in there and whatnot, so we’ve just got to play ball and do our techniques.”
Branch underperformed at the start of this season, resulting in him being benched for the Patriots’ Week 5 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s looked better since returning to the lineup and has seen his playing time slowly increase, from 28.9 percent of defensive snaps in Week 6 to 40.4 percent in Week 7.
Thumbnail photo viaÂ Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images