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Carroll talks up Deion Branch

ORLANDO -- The Patriots would seemingly be in the market for a veteran receiver, and the possibility of Deion Branch returning generated significant media buzz in recent months. Yet if first-year Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll's comments are to be taken at face value, that doesn't seem like a strong possibility.

"He's a big-time player," Carroll said this morning at the NFC coaches breakfast. "I've seen him now on the field, [catching] the ball with some of the guys out there, and he's gifted. He's a natural player with terrific quickness. He has all the instincts, terrific hands, and with a good personality to go along with that. They are the kind of things that you might expect to see on a guy who has played at that caliber.

"The way he finished last year, the last four games of the year, he really looked good. He looked like a really good football player. It took him a little bit to get comfortable last year coming back from the [injury] stuff he dealt with, but once he got going he looked like a very good player. Hopefully we can utilize his talents and make sure he is going to become a big factor for us."

Branch is scheduled to earn $5.4 million this season, a high salary that some have speculated might have Branch's job security in jeopardy.