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Deion Branch back with New England Patriots

Deion Branch has been reunited with the New England Patriots.

A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed Branch's return to the Patriots to NFL.com and NFL Network on Tuesday.

The Boston Globe first reported that Branch signed with the Patriots on Tuesday. The team later confirmed the signing Wednesday. The Patriots cut Branch three weeks ago.

With Aaron Hernandez likely on the shelf well into October, Branch should slide directly into a Patriots offensive game plan he knows well. The wide receiver has long been a security blanket for Tom Brady.

The door opened for Branch after the Patriots released wide receiver Greg Salas earlier Tuesday. Branch was released on Aug. 31 in a surprising move.

Branch has played six of his 11 NFL seasons in New England, with a four-plus season stint with the Seattle Seahawks in between. In 2011, Branch started 15 games, finishing with 51 receptions for 702 yards and five touchdowns.

The Patriots also added tight end Kellen Winslow on Tuesday, giving Brady two name brands to fill the void while Hernandez recuperates.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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