After being released by the New England Patriots, the general thought was that wide receiver Deion Branch would return to the team at some point later on. He has stated that he wants to rejoin the team, which makes sense given the Patriots chances of winning the Super Bowl and Branch’s rapport with the team and, most importantly, quarterback Tom Brady.
Christopher Price has tweeted that Branch’s locker is “fully stocked” which points to the idea that Branch is going to remain a Patriot. Either he hasn’t changed his Twitter account, or he really does consider himself as still being a “New England Patriots WR” (Pats Pulpit).
It is all very interesting, and the signs point to the veteran wide receiver being back on the team sooner or later. The Patriots did acquire Greg Salas in a trade yesterday, so adding Branch would mean that Jabar Gaffney, who also wants to re-sign with the Pats, is not coming back.
Linebacker and special teams ace Niko Koutouvides still has his locker stocked up as well, which means that he could also be returning. These all lend to interesting thoughts and speculation on two Patriots veterans. I thought that Koutouvides was going to stay on the 53-man roster and make it over Mike Rivera or Tracy White, but that didn’t happen. Fellow linebacker Jeff Tarpinian was placed on the practice squad, so there is fuel behind the notion that Koutouvides will rejoin the Patriots. They could place White on the injured reserve and Koutouvides if they feel like he is an upgrade (he is as a down linebacker in my opinion).
My gut tells me that Branch will be back at some point this week, but that could just be the Mexican food bothering me. There is more of a chance that Branch remains a Patriot than Koutouvides throughout all the speculation and rumors (because that’s what it all is at this point).
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.