- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Though Jeff Demps just recently became an official member of the New England Patriots, veteran wide receiver Deion Branch has long been familiar with his ability. Most specifically, his world-class speed.
“Yes sir, I have, especially when he was back at Florida,” Branch said on a conference call when asked if he had seen Demps run track even before he was participating in the 2012 Olympics as part of the United States silver medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team.
“I’ve been looking at the trials and stuff, seeing him running there and then in the Olympics. I’ve seen him quite a bit,” Branch said.
Because of that exposure, Branch isn’t at all surprised by Demps’ speed now that he’s seen it in person.
“Trust me, this guy is a world-class sprinter,” he said. “The speed that he’s displaying on the football field isn’t surprising. It is what it is; he’s everything we thought he was.”
With Demps now in the fold, the debate about the fastest Patriot is a no-brainer, but Branch is also confident that teammate Matthew Slater could be successful on the track if he focused on it as well.
“See, well he’s [Demps] the fastest guy on the team but clearly [Matthew] Slater is another fast guy, I mean a very fast guy,” Branch said. “Who knows, I mean if this guy truly probably put a little more emphasis on running track he would probably be the same.”
We’ve witnessed Demps’ speed on the track, but Branch added that football speed and track speed are two different entities.
“You could get a track guy who can run the 40 but he may not run as fast competing and playing on the football field,” he said.
In the case of Demps, however, Branch believes his speed crosses both boundaries.
“That’s not the same with Demps though. He runs fast period,” he continued. “But I’ve been around the game where I’ve seen a bunch of track guys try to play football and it just didn’t work out. But this guy naturally is a football player blessed with that speed.”
Though Jeff Demps just recently became an official member of the New England Patriots, veteran wide receiver Deion Branch has long been familiar with his ability.