Colts hoping to get help from ex-Patriot

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm •  Published: January 6, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Colts are getting some help from a former Patriot.

Six days before the two rivals meet in a divisional-round game, the Colts signed Deion Branch, the former New England receiver and Super Bowl MVP.

Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano pointed out Branch lives in nearby Carmel, works out at one of the city's top training facilities and fills a need after Darrius Heyward-Bey injured a hamstring Saturday in the Colts' 45-44 comeback victory over Kansas City. But Branch also brings something else to the locker room — deep knowledge of Bill Belichick's playbook.

"You know it really didn't sit there and factor in," Pagano said Monday, downplaying the perceived intelligence coup. "Having had some time spent there, we figured that the questions were going to come up 'If you're signing this guy who spent time in New England, is it just a coincidence or do you need the guy to help you win a football game?' We think we got a heck of a football player."

Tom Brady might agree.

Earlier this season, he reportedly lobbied the team to re-sign Branch as the offense struggled with the losses of Wes Welker in free agency, Aaron Hernandez to legal trouble and Danny Amendola to Rob Gronkowski to injuries.

Instead, it was the injury-plagued Colts who signed Branch off the street.

What Indy gets is a 34-year-old veteran with two Super Bowl rings, who was the Super Bowl MVP in New England's third title run. He also worked with backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck when the two were teammates in Seattle. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Branch has 518 receptions for 6,644 yards and 39 touchdowns in 140 regular-season games, most of those with Brady and the Patriots. Branch also has 64 receptions for 948 yards with four TDs in the postseason and tied Jerry Rice's Super Bowl record for receptions with 11 in February 2005.

Pagano figured all that experience would help his young team get ready for what will be their biggest game of the season. Having a little inside information won't hurt, either.

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