Branch injured his hamstring Friday and was questionable for the Week 11 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran said on Twitter that the injury was what led to Branch’s release, and the activation of wide receiver Greg Salas.
Branch was initially cut by New England prior to the season opener, but was re-signed by Week 3. He had only managed nine receptions for 80 yards in seven games, including three starts.
The 33-year-old was a second-round draft pick for the Patriots in 2002, and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. He had 11 receptions for 133 yards. He is ninth on the Patriots’ all-time receiving list and spent seven seasons in New England. The other five were spent with the Seattle Seahawks.
Salas had been on the practice squad since September 20 prior to being added to the roster. New England traded a 2015 draft pick for Salas on September 1, and released him 17 days later.
The Patriots have also released defensive back Malcolm Williams and added cornerback Aqib Talib to the roster. The team traded for Talib on November 1 during the last moments of the NFL’s deadline. The Patriots also picked up a seventh-round pick for a fourth-round draft pick.
Talib was serving the last game of a four-game suspension last week, and New England was given a roster exemption, meaning he didn’t need to be added to the active roster until Monday. Talib will likely play against the Colts on Sunday.
[Pictured: Deion Branch]