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Deion Branch
No. 83     Seattle Seahawks
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: July 18, 1979 (1979-07-18) (age 30)
Place of birth: Albany, Georgia
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Weight: 193 lb (88 kg)
Career information
College: Louisville
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 2 / Pick: 65
Debuted in 2002 for the New England Patriots
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009
Receptions     390
Receiving yards     4,979
Receiving average     12.8
Receiving TDs     28
Stats at NFL.com

Tony Deion Branch, Jr. (born, July 18, 1979, in Albany, Georgia) (Resides in Carmel, Indiana) is an American football wide receiver who currently plays for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. He is 5'9" and 193 pounds and was picked by New England in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of the University of Louisville. Branch was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005, after tying former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice and former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Dan Ross for the Super Bowl reception record with 11 catches for 133 yards. He was the first receiver to win the award since 1989.

Contents

Biography

In middle school, high school and college, Branch was often told he was too short at just 5'9" to be an NFL receiver, and due to this, he dropped from a sure first-round pick to the second round. Deion was selected with the final pick of the Second round of the 2002 NFL Draft, after New England used its first-round pick on tight end Daniel Graham. Branch eventually became quarterback Tom Brady's go-to receiver and helped lead the team to two straight Super Bowls sparking an offense built primarily on the passing game prior to 2005. In addition to his 11 catch, 133-yard performance in Super Bowl XXXIX, he also caught 10 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII. His 21 receptions in those 2 games is an NFL record for reception in consecutive Super Bowls and the third highest total of career Super Bowl receptions by a single player. Only Jerry Rice and Andre Reed, who each played in 4 Super Bowls, recorded more.

Branch had an impressive 2005 season, catching 78 passes and falling only two yards shy of his first 1,000 yard season. In addition, he caught five touchdown passes and became the true number one receiver on the Patriots.

2006 contract issues

In May 2006, the Patriots attempted to spark negotiations by offering Branch a contract extension through 2009. The offer had a $4 million signing bonus and $4 million option bonus payable in 2007. His base salary for 2006 would have been $1.045 million. In 2007, he would get $1.4 million, $4.3 million in 2008, and $4.75 million in 2009. There were also workout bonuses for an extra $300,000. Although those were only base salaries, he would have been expected to make roughly $6.25 million.

Branch wanted a deal that a player would receive in unrestricted free agency. An example of a deal Branch pointed to is the six year, $40 million deal that Reggie Wayne got. An example of a lower class team signing a high profile contract was the $24 million, 5 year deal his former teammate David Givens got with the Tennessee Titans.

On June 14, 2006, Branch began his holdout with the Patriots. It continued into August, and through the first three preseason games. The Patriots fined him $600,000 ($14,000 a day) due to his holdout.

On August 25, 2006, the New England Patriots issued this statement, "The New England Patriots had given Deion Branch permission to seek a trade and negotiate a contract with other clubs. This permission was extend until September 1, 2006." This gave Branch six days to seek a trade with another team.

No trade was made, and Branch filed a grievance claiming that the Patriots violated an agreement by not completing a fair trade between them and a team willing to give Branch a contract extension.

Branch also had a non-injury grievance pending that the Patriots failed to negotiate in good faith; that grievance was to be heard first, though the NFL argued that both grievances are basically the same.

On September 11, 2006, Branch was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots received a first round #24 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft from the trade which was used on University of Miami Safety, Brandon Meriweather.

Seattle Seahawks

He came to Seattle in 2006, playing 14 games for the Seahawks. He finished with 53 receptions for 725 yards and 4 touchdowns. Coming into the 2007 season with high expectations, Branch had 343 yards in 5 games. He had a great game against the San Francisco 49ers in week 4 making 7 catches for 130 yards including a 65 yard pass from Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He then injured his leg and missed the next five games. He came back in finished the season with 49 receptions for 661 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the 2008 season, Branch missed 8 games but still had 30 receptions for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns and played very well towards the end of the season.

References

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tom Brady
NFL Super Bowl MVPs
Super Bowl XXXIX, 2005
Succeeded by
Hines Ward







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