When the possibility of a reunion between Deion Branch and the Patriots is discussed, one visual comes to mind.
The Patriots had posted a 24-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 7, 2008, and as he often does after shaking the hand of the opposing coach, Bill Belichick sought out a few players from the other team.
On that day in Seattle, Belichick spent a little extra time with coach Mike Holmgren, who was retiring after the season, and then scanned the area, circling in and out of various crowds. He was looking for Branch. Once he found him, the two shared a meaningful embrace and then spoke for a short period of time.
I remember thinking that the hatchet had officially been buried.
Any hard feelings that either side had for the other -- almost three years after Branch forced a trade out of New England because he felt the Patriots weren't offering enough in a contract -- were in the past.
That moment came to mind after reading Branch's comments in the Boston Herald. Branch told Karen Guregian on Wednesday that he would have strong feelings about a potential return to New England if things don't work out in Seattle (his $5.4 million salary, past knee problems and production are reasons he might not stick).
“I still love coach Belichick, and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there," Branch told Guregian. "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."