Patriots TV to film Branch special

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

ALBANY -- Deion Branch always likes to talk about how Albany is his home, and he embraces the Good Life City as much as anyone.

Maybe that's why a film crew from the New England Patriots TV station will be in Albany today, putting together a special on Branch, who has written his own legacy as a receiver in Foxboro, where he has done everything from win a Super Bowl MVP for the Patriots to finding new life in his career a year ago when he returned to New England.

"When they talk to me, I'll tell them about the Deion Branch I know off the field,'' said Westover principal William Chunn, who will be interviewed for the special. Chunn was Branch's high school football coach at Monroe High.

"He's a special football player, but he is even more special off the field,'' Chunn said. "That's what I will tell them about Deion Branch. He's always helping the community. He cares about the city. He cares about the community and he cares about the youth. He's always prepared to give back to the youth. He always takes time and gives time to the youth of this city.''

The special will be about how and where Branch grew up, tracing his roots to Albany and Monroe High and his early football days. The film crew will spend time with Chunn at Westover and will also spend time filming at Monroe today.

"When he first came to us as a freshman, we were concerned about him playing because he was so small,'' said Chunn, who coached Branch all four years at Monroe from 1993 through 1996. "The offensive coordinator didn't want him to play, because (Branch) was one of the smallest guys we had.

"But he proved himself,'' Chunn said. "He proved he was tough enough to handle himself against the big boys, and we played him.''

Branch was a star at Monroe, and Chunn thought even back then that Branch might make it to the NFL.

"I did think he might get to the NFL, but not as a receiver,'' Chunn said. "I thought he would make it to the NFL as a defensive back.

"He played both ways for us, and he was our shutdown defensive back. He led the region in interceptions.''

Chunn said he would be glad to tell the TV station, or anyone else, about Branch.

"I'm very proud of him, proud of him as a football player but more because of what he has become as a man off the field,'' Chunn said. "I'm proud of the respect he has for himself, and the respect he has for others.''