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Monday, February 6, 2012
Branch: This is where I want to retire

By Mike Reiss

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wide receiver Deion Branch wants to keep playing football in 2012, and he hopes it's with the Patriots. The 11-year veteran is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13.

Assuming the Patriots want him back, Branch is excited to jump on board again.

"This is where I want to be, this is where I want to retire," he said after Sunday's 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. "This is why I came back, for the opportunity to play in this game. I'm pretty sure I will be here in this position next year."

Receiver is a position where the Patriots could have some moving parts.

In addition to Branch, No. 1 receiver Wes Welker has his pact expiring. He is likely to receive the franchise tag is an extension can not be reached.

Then there's Chad Ochocinco. He's scheduled to earn a $3 million base salary in 2012, and it's hard to imagine the Patriots bringing him back at that level of pay after a 15-catch regular season.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater, who lines up at receiver sparingly, is also scheduled for unrestricted free agency.