Anthony Deion Branch, Jr. is an wide receiver who currently plays for the Seattle Seahawks. He was picked by New England in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft and out of the University of Louisville. Branch was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005, after tying former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice and former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Dan Ross for the Super Bowl reception record with 11 catches for 133 yards.
In middle school, high school and college, Branch was often told he was too short at just 5'9" to be an NFL receiver, and due to this, he dropped from a sure first-round pick to a humble second-round pick. Deion was selected with the final pick of the Second round of the 2002 NFL Draft, after New England used its first-round pick on TE Daniel Graham. And he did not disappoint, becoming quarterback Tom Brady's primary target and leading the team to two straight Super Bowls. In addition to his 11 catch, 133-yard performance in Super Bowl XXXIX, he also caught 10 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII. His 21 receptions in those 2 games is an NFL record for reception in consecutive Super Bowls and the third highest total of career Super Bowl receptions by a single player. Only Jerry Rice and Andre Reed, who each played in 4 Super Bowls, recorded more.
Branch had an impressive 2005 season, catching 78 passes and falling only two yards shy of his first 1,000 yard season. In addition, he caught five touchdown passes and became the true number one receiver on the Patriots.
2006 Contract issues
In May 2006, the Patriots attempted to spark negotiations by offering Branch a contract extension through 2009. The offer had a $4 million signing bonus and $4 million option bonus payable in 2007. His base salary for 2006 would be $1.045 million. In 2007, he would get $1.4 million, $4.3 million in 2008, and $4.75 million in 2009. There were also workout bonuses for an extra $300,000. Although those were only base salaries, he would have been expected to make roughly $6.25 million.
Branch's agent, Jason Chayut, rejected the deal because it was heavily backloaded, which means the majority of the money comes at the end of the contract. That's fine in other sports, but in the NFL, contracts are not guaranteed meaning if he was released he would only get the pay from that year and not the backloaded years. Another reason is due to inflation, which happens in sports too, his contract would be one of the cheaper ones for upper class receivers. As of August 2006, that contract would put him in the middle of receivers of his rank.
Branch wanted a deal that a player would receive in unrestricted free agency, which is often more because they have to compete with other teams for the player, therefore increasing the amount of money they are willing to invest, and for lower-class teams especially. An example of a deal Branch points to is the six year, $40 million deal that Reggie Wayne got. An example of a lower class team signing a high profile contract is the $24 million, 5 year deal his former teammate David Givens got with the Tennessee Titans.
On June 14, 2006, Branch began his holdout with the Patriots. It continued into August, and through the first game of the regular season. The Patriots had the option whethere to fine him $14,000 a day due to his holdout, but only if they choose to do so. Branch was traded to the Seahawks on September 11, 2006 for a first round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Off the Field
The Deion Branch Foundation was created by Deion to The help "ease the struggles of those children struggling with health related issues, including those with meningitis. The foundation is close to Deion’s heart as his 4 year old son, Deiondre was born afflicted with meningitis."
According to his site : "The foundation actively supports organizations committed to assisting meningitis victims, particularly infected children. Previous benefactors have been The Meningitis Foundation of America, and The Home of the Innocents.
The Home of the Innocents is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of abandoned, abused, neglected and medically fragile children. Since meningitis causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, many survivors are permanently and severely disabled and The Home of the Innocents provides thousands of children with the round-the-clock care they require to make it through each year.
This year, the Deion Branch Foundation will also provide funding for prenatal programs and initiatives in Washington State."
- See footnote for source.
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Kick Return Stats
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Punt Return Stats
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Fumble Recovery Stats
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- Won the Super Bowl MVP in 2004