Branch quiet this time around

Deion Branch of the New England Patriots warms Deion Branch of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Sept. 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty

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FOXBORO, Mass. -- Just call him Deion "Olive" Branch.

When the Jets celebrated their playoff win over the Patriots last January at Gillette Stadium with mock airplane landings and joyous dogpiles in the middle of the field, Branch branded them "classless."

Last summer, he said the Patriots would remember the humiliation the next time they met and use it as motivation.

But when the wide receiver appeared before the media for the first time all week Friday in the Pats' locker room, Branch toed the company line laid down by coach Bill Belichick, who told his players not to stir up any controversy before Sunday's rematch.

When asked if his bad feelings toward the Jets have lingered, Branch offered a big smile and said: "No, that's behind me. I'm a refreshed man. Everything is good. All that stuff is in the past."

Reminded that Jets coach Rex Ryan said beating the Patriots was "personal" for him, Branch laughed when asked if it's personal for him, too. "No, that's coach Rex," Branch said. "That's his decision. It's personal with him. The most important thing for us is to go out and execute our plays, do our job and, hopefully, get the win."

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Branch admitted he has spoken to a number of Jets since the playoff game, but he wouldn't say where they met, only that their conversations were cordial. "It was good," Branch said. "There's a lot of emotion tied into this game. Guys want to win. Everything is cool off the field. Nobody's about to fight and all that mess."

Following Belichick's lead, most Patriots say the Jets rivalry stems from its importance as a division game, but little beyond that.

"Yeah, I think the rivalry will get guys pumped up," Branch allowed. "But all that stuff that happened in the past, I don't think guys are really fueling off that stuff."

Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis might cover slot receiver Wes Welker this time, and Branch cracked up when asked if he'd like that.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," he said. "I mean, if [Revis] ends up on anybody except me, that would be good."

When Branch went on to say there's nothing especially satisfying about beating the Jets, it was suggested to him that he was following Belichick's script well.

Pretending to be hurt, Branch smiled and said: "I know nobody said [as much as] I said. I kind of gave you a little more in-depth on the interview. I didn't say nothing bad, though."

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