Only the timing surprised Deion Branch

Deion Branch thought he might have a chance to rejoin the New England Patriots last season.

Now, a couple months after selling his Boston-area condo, Branch is back in New England. The Seattle Seahawks traded him to the Patriots for a 2011 fourth-round draft choice Monday.

Branch, addressing reporters Tuesday, once thought Tim Ruskell's resignation as Seahawks president last season might foreshadow the end of Branch's time in Seattle.

"I thought were probably going to start making changes and I actually thought I was going to be one of the guys," Branch told reporters covering the Patriots. "I wasn’t. Stayed there and everything was cool."

Branch indicated he could be amenable to adjusting his contract for the Patriots. He expressed interest in rejoining the Patriots as early as February and put it this way when speaking with the Boston Herald at that time:

I still love coach (Bill) Belichick, and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there. I still talk to Tom [Brady] to this day, and the crazy part is, you never lose that relationship with guys, especially when you do something special, which is what we did in my first four years in New England. I still talk with half of the team. To this day, I still talk with half of the guys that were on the team with me. It’s a special bond. For us to reunite, I don’t know. I would probably be crying at the press conference, if it happens."

No one is crying after this deal. The Seahawks improbably picked up a fourth-round choice in return. Branch got the big-money contract New England refused to give him in 2006 without permanently severing ties with the Patriots. And the Patriots picked up low-maintenance receiver help after trading Randy Moss.