|Deion Branch returns to the Patriots, but most figured he'd back at some time this year. (US Presswire)|
There was little doubt that Deion Branch would eventually find his way back to New England . The only question was when it would happen, and that day arrived Wednesday when the Patriots announced that the veteran receiver was coming home.
Branch will take the place Donte' Stallworth, who was placed injured reserve Tuesday with an ankle injury suffered while making a 63-yard touchdown catch during Monday's 42-14 win over the Houston Texans. It is expected that Branch will serve as the third receiver behind Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.
There was never any doubt that the team would eventually bring Branch back since his locker remained intact at Gillette Stadium after being released Nov. 17.
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He had nine receptions for 80 yards at the time of the transaction, and was let go after suffering a hamstring injury.
Greg Salas initially replaced him on the roster, but was also cut loose and claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Later Stallworth was brought in.
New England still has an open roster spot after releasing TE Visanthe Shiancoe Tuesday.
Nick Underhill covers the Patriots for MassLive.com. Follow him on Twitter @CBSPats or @Nick_Underhill.