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Um, what the hell, Anthony Deion Branch?
Yes, this warrants me using your full name, like a scolding mother after you broke a flower vase. I thought we had a deal. No, I thought we had something special. Because like that delicate flower vase, you broke my heart on Monday when you signed with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts less than a week before they play the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional round.
How could you? You were our second round draft pick in 2002! You were our Super Bowl MVP in 2004! Sure, there was that time when the Patriots wouldn’t give you an extension and then shipped you off to the Seattle Seahawks for a first round draft pick. But come on, we loved you so much that we traded to get you back from Seattle just a few years later! (And just because it was a fourth round pick doesn’t mean we loved you any less, Deion.)
I get it. You’re a local guy (though why you’re living in Carmel, Indiana is beyond me). Andrew Luck looked pretty decent leading the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history (and looks pretty stunning with that beard of his, but I don’t have to tell you that!). The Colts are pretty decimated at wide receiver, with Reggie Wayne going down with an ACL tear earlier this season and Darrius Heyward-Bey set to miss Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Worst of all, Bill and Tom have been busy flirting with Austin Collie all season – signing him, cutting him, re-signing him, cutting him, re-signing him again – and haven’t returned your calls. They can be jerks. I told you, I get it.
Once you were back, though, I thought it was for good. Even last year, when we released you a couple of times (only due to the sheer limitations of the 53-man roster, we assure you), we had you on speed dial (don’t be upset you weren’t #2, you know that’s reserved for Gisele) to bring back at a moment’s notice. Which we did! And I am eternally grateful. We couldn’t have lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship without you.
In other words, I thought we had reached an understanding. We keep you on speed dial, you sit at home enjoying being mostly retired except for the occasional cameo as a Patriots wide receiver, complete with a locker that already has your gear in it.
But noooo. You just had to go ahead and sign with the Colts, mere days before Indianapolis is scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium for a divisional round showdown and the right to face the winner of Chargers-Broncos in the AFC Championship game. How convenient!
I just hope the good times we had together – Super Bowl MVP, remember?!?! – will be enough that you don’t give away our plays, hand signals, code words, and, of course, those broken pieces of my heart (they were a gift!).
But mostly don’t give away our plays.