Patriots officially re-sign Branch

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have re-signed veteran receiver Deion Branch, the team announced Wednesday.

Branch's return could be filed in the "worst-kept-secret" category, as his Gillette Stadium locker has been intact with personal belongings since his release Nov. 17. Branch had a hamstring injury at the time of his release.

Branch played in seven games for the Patriots this season, totaling 332 snaps as a No. 3 option behind Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker. He has nine receptions for 80 yards on the season.

"He gives us a good level of experience, and knows our system, has played for us, and we have confidence in him," coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday.

The Patriots had two open roster spots after releasing tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and placing receiver Donte' Stallworth (ankle) on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday.