Deion Branch takes break from 'daddy day care' to announce Pats' picks

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The first question to former New England Patriots receiver Deion Branch sparked laughter.

"Are you going to wear Tom Brady's jersey on stage?"

Branch, who will announce the team's second-round picks on Day 2 of the draft as part of the NFL's initiative to link past and present, had seen former teammate Kevin Faulk do that two years ago when he was announcing picks.

Branch and Brady are still close, and of course, Branch said he'd do anything to support his former quarterback if it's allowed.

When the Patriots recently called and asked if he'd be interested in announcing the team's second-round picks this year, Branch didn't hesitate.

"I'm more thrilled than anything, being a second-round pick," Branch said Wednesday. "It's an honor."

As part of the festivities, the league will fly Branch to Texas, and he will meet up with former teammate Ty Warren, who is scheduled to announce the team's third-round picks. They are scheduled to go through meetings and have dinner with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as part of their involvement in the draft.

As for Branch's own draft experience, he recalled it fondly.

"I was around a bunch of family and friends and I remember walking away from the house, not getting engulfed by the draft because it took all day," he said. "I would leave the house with family and friends to take a walk, and at one point, I got a phone call from the Patriots. They put Coach Belichick on the phone and he said, 'We're thinking about taking you with the next pick.' I told my friends and they all took off running. I just stayed outside -- we were in an apartment complex in Louisville -- and I sat on a lady's AC unit; she didn't even know I was in her backyard. Then I heard her scream inside, and that's when I knew it was official, that the Patriots had drafted me."

Branch is still viewed as the rookie receiver who made the quickest impact in the Patriots' complex offensive system under Bill Belichick, finishing his New England career with 328 receptions for 4,297 yards and 24 touchdowns in 89 games. He was the MVP of the Super Bowl XXXIX victory over the Philadelphia Eagles with 11 receptions for 133 yards.

Branch, 38, said Wednesday he still feels connected to the Patriots and he has been a frequent visitor to games in recent years.

As for what he's doing in retirement, he described it this way: "Daddy day care, enjoying the free time with my kids, being involved with everything I truly missed during years of playing football. I'm truly enjoying that -- get the kids up every morning, getting them to school, getting them off the bus, being at every event."

Branch has settled in Indianapolis and is involved with real-estate investments.