Albany native Deion Branch answers questions during the Patriots’ Media Day.
INDIANAPOLIS — Star athletes from Albany come and go over the years, but if there’s one thing you can say about New England Patriots wideout and 2005 Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch, he has never forgotten where he came from.
And, actually, he’s darn proud of it.
Branch told The Boston Globe earlier this week that he has a tradition at the end of every season, whether his team makes the playoffs or not: He calls all his old coaches, even those from his pee wee football days when he played for the Albany Bruins, and thanks them.
WHO: New York Giants (11-8) vs. New England Patriots (15-3).
WHAT: Super Bowl XLVI.
WHEN: 6:20 p.m. Sunday.
LINE (UPDATED): Patriots by 3 points.
“I started (calling) the other day because now I have so many coaches. I’m trying right now to start calling them, my little league coaches, the ones that haven’t called me already asking for tickets (to Super Bowl XLVI),’’ Branch told The Globe with a laugh. “All of those guys are very important.’’
When Branch, who will be playing in his third career Super Bowl on Sunday when the Patriots take on the Giants, gets a hold of the coaches who helped shape him into the player he is today, he says his message is uniform.
“Every year I always talk to them, just to let them know I appreciate them, and everything I’m doing they have a big part in,’’ Branch told the newspaper.
Branch starred at Monroe High School and played under then-head coach William Chunn, who is now the principal at Westover. He went on to play for Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss., for two seasons before transferring to Division I Louisville. He was eventually drafted in 2002 by the Patriots.
Branch, however, always returns home to Albany each year for his “Skills and Drills Camp” as a way to give back.
“I can’t even explain the joy I have being out here with these kids and seeing them,” Branch told The Herald during his 6th annual camp in June of last year. “They look at me like I’m something special, but I’m just a regular guy who loves to play football. I am blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to play this game and to be a part of something special in my career.”