Branch: 'All of us are surprised'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Free-agent receiver Deion Branch was in attendance at Troy Brown's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, and offered his first public remarks after being released on Aug. 31.

"I think all of us are surprised," Branch said of his release. "But it’s the nature of the business, it’s part of the business."

Branch was assumed to be safe after fellow receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth were released prior to final cuts. Branch was asked if he shared the same confidence.

"Yeah and no. It’s like what Troy was saying earlier – no one is ever safe. You’ve just got to come in and do your job and go from there, and that’s what I was doing," Branch said. "I think the organization is going to do what’s best for the team, whatever they feel is best for the team, and you have to respect that, and I do."

Branch's nameplate and locker at Gillette Stadium remained intact as of this week. The 33-year old said he would welcome to opportunity to return to New England.

"If I’m there, I’d love to be back. I’d embrace it and pick up right where I left off at," he said.