- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Recently re-signed Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch said Wednesday he anticipated the call that eventually came from the team expressing an interest in bringing him back.
"Across the board, whether it was here, I always had to weigh my options," he said. "That's what I'm going to do first and foremost, weigh my options for my family and myself. But to get the call, besides some of the other calls, I think this was more important here."
Branch cites his family as the primary reason he chose to re-join the Patriots in favor of another offer from a different team.
"First and foremost, my family is first," he said. "Doing the things right by my family and put myself in the right position."
Branch's return was certainly no surprise. The team kept his locker -- adjacent to quarterback Tom Brady's -- intact. When asked if he believed that was a sign he would return, Branch replied, "You never know, you never know."
His return could be tied to the team's need to bolster the passing game after losing tight end Aaron Hernandez to a right ankle injury. While it remains unclear what role Branch will absorb, he's ready to do whatever is asked of him by the coaches.
"That all depends on the game plan and whatever the coaches have for me," he said. "I'm going to do whatever they ask of me, whether that be special teams, offense, defense, I'm going to do that. As far as within the offense, that comes with the game plan."
This marks the second time Branch has made a return to the team, as he was acquired via a trade in 2010 from Seattle, the team to which New England traded him in 2006. Branch said he had a good conversation with Bill Belichick when he was informed of his release just 19 days ago, but wanted to keep the conversation private.
"I'll keep that between coach and myself,” Branch said. “It was very understanding. I think, overall, if you play this game long enough, I'm pretty sure every guy in this building will go through it. And I mean that, every guy. And that comes with time, most of all you're a team player, the team's going to do what's best for the team, and me personally, I'm going to do what's best for Deion."
Although he wasn't an official member of the team, Branch said he kept up on his teammates when he could during his time away.
"I watched the first game, and caught the second half of the second game," he continued. "When you have kids, there ain't too much free time."