Branch rejoins Patriots
Receiver acquired from Seahawks for 4th-rounder
New England sent Seattle a 2011 fourth-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Once Branch passes a physical today, the deal will become official.
Reported to be in the works last week by the Globe, the move reunites Tom Brady with one of his all-time favorite receivers.
With the trade for Randy Moss being ironed out, Brady contacted Branch; a league source said Branch met with Seattle general manager John Schneider last week about his future with the Seahawks.
The rumors reached a crescendo last night after Branch didn’t participate in the Seahawks’ practice. Coach Pete Carroll said Branch was given a personal day.
A couple of hours later, the deal was done.
“[He’s] excited as can be,’’ Branch’s agent, Jason Chayut told the Associated Press.
The Patriots had two fourth-round picks in 2011, getting one from Denver after sending Laurence Maroney to the Broncos last month.
Adding Branch brings a veteran presence to a relatively young receiving corps in New England, and someone who knows the system and can provide great leadership. Plus there is the chemistry he and Brady have on the field.
Now 31, Branch was traded to the Seahawks in 2006 for a first-round pick. Looking for a new contract after he outplayed his rookie deal, Branch held out of training camp and the Patriots eventually gave him permission to seek a trade.
The day the trade was announced was an incredibly somber one at Gillette Stadium; only three or four players were willing to talk about Branch’s departure. Richard Seymour had tears in his eyes as he spoke about the wideout.
A second-round pick out of Louisville (where his jersey was retired this weekend) in 2002, Branch had a knack for coming up big on the biggest stage: the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles, he caught a record-tying 11 passes for 133 yards; the year before, in the Patriots’ title-clinching win over Carolina, he pulled in 10 catches. His two Super Bowl total of 21 receptions is third-most in history.
Branch had 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown with Seattle this season; his career in the Pacific Northwest was marred by a torn ACL in January 2008, during a playoff loss to the Packers.
In 53 games with New England, Branch totaled 213 catches for 2,744 yards and 14 TDs.