Branch returns, wants to retire a Patriot


Branch returns, wants to retire a Patriot

FOXBORO -- Everything happens for a reason.
For Deion Branch, the reason he's still in New England is because he wants to be here.
That would explain why his personal space inside the Patriots locker room at Gillette Stadium has remained untouched each time he's been cut this season.
Branch re-signed with New England earlier this week, after Donte' Stallworth joined Julian Edelman on injured reserve. It marks the second time that Branch signed with the team this season, after being released in August, then again in mid-November.
He last played in Week 10, on Nov. 11, against the Buffalo Bills, and had four catches for 30 yards. it was the fifth straight game he had played while dealing with a hamstring injury. It's an injury that he took time to rehab over the last four weeks that he's been away from the team.
But his "return" to the Patriots this week wasn't necessarily earth-shattering news.
Branch stood in front of his locker after Thursday's practice, and it felt like Groundhog Day. Everyone had seen this scene before.
"All my guys just walked past my locker like nothing ever happened," said Branch with a smile on face. "So I didn't get any hugs or anything like that. Just another day, man."
It's as if the veteran receiver never left, either time he was released. Branch refused to come out and discuss details of his conversations with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but it was clear that he would be returning at some point -- both times he was cut -- based on the simple fact that his personal belongings -- clothes, equipment, framed pictures -- all remained in his locker, which continued to don the nameplate, "Deion Branch 84" above it.
"It's part of the business," said Branch. "You understand certain things and this is what happens. But at the same time, you know what your goals are. I know it's important, the team knows it's important. We sit down every time with things like this, whether it's me or someone else. Coach Belichick and this organization is straightforward. He lets you know what's what."
But this type of "business" is tough to come by in a professional sports world that's surrounded by large contracts, personal desires, and cold-blooded roster moves.
Branch is an established NFL veteran. He doesn't have to put up with this.
Still, he does. He wants to. Everything happens for a reason, he says.
His reason is that he has everything he ever could want in New England. He stays because he wants to be here. And he's willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
"This is where I want to be," said Branch. "Someone else might be different. I can only speak for myself. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to retire. So that kind of makes things a lot easier.
"I'm stepping in as if I never left. I'm here to just do whatever they need me to do, whatever Tom Brady needs me to do on the offense, whatever my team needs me to do. That's my job, and that's what I'm going to do.
"I'm a very blessed individual," added Branch. "I'm very thankful."

Tom Brady congratulates Jordan Spieth on British Open win with Facebook video


Tom Brady congratulates Jordan Spieth on British Open win with Facebook video

Jordan Spieth's wayward drive on the 13th hole was nothing more than a speed bump on his way to the British Open title on Sunday.

On Facebook, Tom Brady congratulated his fellow Under Armour endorser in a post shared with another world famous UA pitchman, the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry.

Brady quoted Curry and posted a short video of Spieth climbing the hill well off the fairway on the 13th hole at Royal Birkdale, where Spieth recovered from a wild tee shot and rallied over the final holes to win the Open Championship. A smiling Robert Redford from "Jeremiah Johnson" nodding in appreciation finishes off the clip.

Drive on #13? As Steph says, make that old. Congrats Jordan Spieth 🏆🏆🏆

Posted by Tom Brady on Sunday, July 23, 2017


TOUR DE FRANCE: British cyclist Chris Froome wins fourth title


TOUR DE FRANCE: British cyclist Chris Froome wins fourth title

PARIS — Riding a bright yellow bike to match his shiny leader's jersey, defending champion Chris Froome won his fourth and most challenging Tour de France title on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Kenyan-born British rider finished 54 seconds ahead of Colombian Rigoberto Uran overall, the smallest margin of his wins. This was the third straight win for the Team Sky rider. His first in 2013 came the year after former teammate Bradley Wiggins sparked off a mini-era of British dominance.

Frenchman Romain Bardet, runner-up last year, placed 2 minutes, 20 seconds behind in third place, denying Spaniard Mikel Landa — Froome's teammate — a podium spot by just one second. Italian Fabio Aru finished fifth.

As per tradition, the 21st stage was reserved for sprinters and mostly a procession for Froome and the other overall leaders. Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen won the final stage.

© 2017 by The Associated Press.