Brady happy to see Branch get chance

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots had a No. 84 on the practice field on Tuesday, but it wasn't Deion Branch. (It was new addition Reggie Dunn).

Branch will be wearing No. 86 this weekend, but it won't be for the Patriots.

The longtime Patriot was signed by the Colts, who come to town this week for a divisional-round matchup.

On Tuesday, quarterback Tom Brady was asked about seeing his close friend sign with a new team.

"That's for our defense," he said. "They're going to worry about all those guys, prepare for all those guys. And that's part of guys changing teams and so forth. It's nice to see a guy get an opportunity, especially one of your great friends."

In a follow-up question, Brady was asked if he's spoken with Branch since he signed his deal with the Colts, or whether the two have been in touch of late.

"I keep in touch with a lot of guys," he said. "Over the years, there's been a lot of great friends that I've been lucky enough to play with on this team that are just great people, and you always wish the best for those people.

"Certainly the guys that have played receiver here, the guys I've been close with, because that's probably where the most interaction is," he continued. "All the quarterbacks I've been with and all the receivers I've been with I always keep in touch with those guys."

While it's unclear how much of a role Branch will have this Saturday night, especially with just a week's worth of preparation and playbook study, it will be a unique feeling for all those who were teammates with him for so many years in New England.