Brady on Branch: He's the best teammate

INDIANAPOLIS -- New Indianapolis Colts receiver Deion Branch was on the practice field with his teammates for the first time Tuesday afternoon. Branch didn’t address the media because he was in a cram session trying to learn as much of the offense as possible before Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game against his former team, the New England Patriots.

But two guys who know Branch well -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady -- talked about him Tuesday.

The Colts signed Branch on Monday to give them some added depth at the receiver spot.

“He’s a great player,” Brady said. “He’s been one of the best players I’ve ever played with. He’s the best teammate, a great person, a great friend. He’s so smart and dependable, consistent. He’s everything you look for in a football player. I’ve always kept in contact with him.”

Branch, MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX, had two separate stints with the Patriots, totaling 4,297 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season in New England was in 2005 when he had 79 receptions for 998 yards.

“Deion had a great career here,” Belichick said. “I think he was here for seven years or north thereof. Very smart, professional player, one of the top guys we’ve had here in terms of off the field work ethic, leadership, intelligence, preparation, all those things. He had some very productive seasons here. He’s a tremendous person.”