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Patriots' Branch is more into big wins than extra attention

INDIANAPOLIS -- He plays offense. He's won at least two Super Bowls, and he was the MVP the last time the New England Patriots won the NFL championship.

Know who it is?

"I'd have to say Tom," New England safety Patrick Chung said Monday. Nope, not Tom Brady.

The same question seemed to stump running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a few seconds, too. Then he said it's really not important who got the honor in a game where the biggest reward is the Vince Lombardi Trophy that goes to the NFL champion.

"To me, MVPs don't matter," he said. "The only thing that really matters is us going out there and performing well."

And it doesn't matter to Deion Branch, either. He was the Super Bowl MVP when the Patriots beat the Eagles 24-21 seven years ago for their third championship in four years. He has been overlooked a bit this season, with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez grabbing most of Brady's passes and the headlines.

"That's cool," said Branch, who has that MVP trophy stored safely in a glass case at his home. "I just do my job. I can't worry about who's controlling it and who's saying A, B, C, D. I just do my job I'm not here to be the one that (says), `Hey I need all the attention.' That's not me."

His contribution doesn't escape the discriminating eye of coach Bill Belichick as he prepares his team for Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants on Sunday.

"I couldn't imagine anybody on the team not thinking that Deion Branch has a tremendous importance to our football team," Belichick said. "I don't care if they play offense, defense or wash the towels."

Branch, simply, just produces in the shadows of Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez.

"People who actually play against him, they understand how good Deion is," New York safety Antrel Rolle said. "Deion is a veteran of this league. He understands all the tricks to this game and, most of all, he's great for their system. He fits their system extremely well. So I think Deion definitely gets his due, maybe not in the media or in the press, but within this team as an organization I feel he definitely gets his due."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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