In the wake of wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth’s season-ending ankle injury on Monday, the New England Patriots have re-signed Deion Branch.
The Patriot’s added Stallworth to the injured reserved list on Tuesday and officially announced they had signed Branch on Wednesday.
“Same thing he brought to the team before,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said when asked of Branch’s expected impact. “With Donte’ out, he gives us a good level of experience and knows our system, has played for us and we have confidence in him.”
For those keeping track, this is Branch’s fourth stint with the team.
The 33-year-old receiver’s roller coaster ride with the Patriots has been well documented: After being drafted by the Pats in the second round (65th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, Branch was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on September 11, 2006 and then reacquired by the Patriots through a trade with Seattle on October 12, 2010.
In 2012, Deion was released by New England in August, only to be re-signed on September 19 before being released again in Mid-November. This season, he has played in seven games with three starts and caught nine passes for 80 yards.
For his career, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound receiver has 511 catches for 6,579 yards and 39 TDs in 137 games.
Branch’s 24 receptions in three Super Bowls are third all-time to the 33 by Jerry Rice (four Super Bowls) and the 27 by Andre Reed (four Super Bowls).
He was also selected the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIX after catching 11 passes for 133 yards in the game.