FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - It had all the makings of a great postgame story line: The former Patriot returning to his old stamping ground with his new team. But Deion Branch did not get the better of Bill Belichick this time.
The former Pats wide receiver was not activated by the Colts before Saturday night's AFC divisional-round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Though it wasn't a surprise -- considering Branch hasn't played in an NFL game since Jan. 20, 2013 -- it still was somewhat of a buzz kill.
Branch, signed Monday by Indianapolis, spent much of the past week trying to get acclimated to the Colts' system.
"Not being active for a couple of months, I've been training on my own, but it's totally different when you're competing," Branch told reporters earlier in the week. "As far as playing the game, that's going to be [coach Chuck Pagano's] decision. Me personally, I'm just every day trying to do my best to pick up everything I possibly can."
It's likely that the Colts signed Branch, in part, for intel. He spent seven years with Belichick, catching 328 passes for 4,297 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Patriots. But Branch downplayed any impact he possibly could have had on the game.
"I'm an old-school player and I always learned from my coach back in the days," he said. "You can always tell somebody what you're doing, but they still got to stop you. If that came about, we still got to stop them, or they still have to stop us.
"If we knew exactly what they were doing, we'd still have to stop it. This is the NFL. These guys, the scouts, I think those guys have done a great job. They knew all the ins and outs about the Patriots before they thought of bringing me back."