Deion Branch Returns to New England Patriots and Other AFC East News

Erik FrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 19, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with teammate Deion Branch #84 on the field prior to their AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

One familiar target goes down and another one comes back to town for the New England Patriots.

ESPN Boston's Mike Rodak reported yesterday that the Patriots are bringing back wide receiver Deion Branch. They have now added two players in the wake of tight end Aaron Hernandez's ankle injury.

With that, we can probably deduce that Hernandez will be out awhile.

Branch had solid numbers over the past two years for the Patriots (99 receptions, 1,408 yards, 10 touchdowns since joining the team), but the team felt better with more tight ends and less wide receivers on the initial 53-man roster, and Branch was a surprise cut as a result. Now, without one of their most important weapons on offense, the Patriots have turned to a known commodity to compensate for some of the lost production.

Here's some more news around the AFC East this Wednesday morning.


Miami Dolphins

According to Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland swore at a fan who criticized the job he's done with the team.

Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel  reports that the Dolphins have released defensive end Ryan Baker and signed defensive tackle Andre Fluellen.


Buffalo Bills

Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 Sportsradio gives his review of the offensive and defensive lines against the Chiefs.

Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland previews the Bills' Week 3 showdown with the Cleveland Browns.


New England Patriots

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston brings his level-headed perspective to the hot topic of wide receiver Wes Welker's reduced role in the Patriots' offense.

Alok Pettani of ESPN's Stats and Info blog says the Patriots should have run the ball more at the end of the game.

Steve Balestrieri of gives a preview of the Patriots and Ravens showdown.


New York Jets

Joe Caporoso of has a great recap of the offensive miscues in the Jets' Week 2 loss to the Steelers.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News points out that an incomplete pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes in the end zone changed everything in the Jets' loss to the Steelers.

Jeff Capellini of CBS New York writes that the Jets are facing an early must-win against the Dolphins.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.