Patriots re-sign Deion Branch

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England 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 this season.

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