Patriots trade holdout Branch to Seahawks

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots ended the holdout of receiver Deion Branch on Monday by trading him to the Seattle Seahawks for a high draft pick.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick would not reveal whether the pick was a first-rounder, but said there was "no question" Branch was a big contributor to the team.

"It's been a long process," Belichick said. "I think we tried hard to make it work out. I think Deion tried hard. We tried. It didn't work out and we've moved on."

Branch was entering the last season of the five-year contract he signed as a rookie. He held out of the mandatory minicamp in June and all of training camp. He has been subject to a $14,000 fine for each day he holds out from July 28, the start of training camp.

In the 2005 Super Bowl, Branch had 11 catches for 133 yards against Philadelphia, helping the Patriots win their third championship in four years. Last season, he caught 78 passes for 998 yards and five touchdowns, all career highs. In four seasons, he has 213 receptions for 2,744 yards and 14 touchdowns.

-- AP

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