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Patriots Release Deion Branch Again; Activate DB Aqib Talib

The New England Patriots announced five roster moves Saturday, including the release of wide receiver Deion Branch.

The New England Patriots activated recently acquired cornerback Aqib Talib to the 53-man roster and released wide receiver Deion Branch Saturday.

In addition to those roster moves, the Patriots announced the signing of wide receiver Greg Salas to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and the release of defensive back Malcom Williams and wide receiver Jarred Fayson from the practice squad.

Talib, 26, is in his fifth NFL season after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a first-round draft pick (20th overall) out of Kansas in 2008. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has played in 58 NFL games with 45 starts and has accumulated 160 total tackles, 18 interceptions with three returned for touchdowns, 53 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He played in four games for the Buccaneers in 2012 and has registered 20 tackles, one interception and defensed seven passes.

Branch, 33, was originally selected by the Patriots in the second round (65th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Louisville. He was traded by the Patriots to the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 11, 2006 and then reacquired through a trade with Seattle on Oct. 12, 2010. Branch was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31 and re-signed on Sept. 19. He played in seven games with three starts and caught nine passes for 80 yards in 2012. Branch, 5-9, 195 pounds, has played in 137 games with 110 starts and accumulated 511 receptions for 6,579 yards and 39 touchdowns. He has played in 15 postseason games with 13 starts and has 62 receptions for 932 yards and four touchdowns. His 24 receptions in three Super Bowls are third all time to the 33 by Jerry Rice (four Super Bowls) and the 27 by Andre Reed (four Super Bowls).

Salas, 24, was originally acquired by New England in a trade with St. Louis on Sept. 1, 2012 in exchange for an undisclosed future draft choice. He dressed for the 2012 season-opener at Tennessee but did not play and was inactive vs. Arizona in the home-opener. Salas was released on Sept. 19 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 20. Salas was originally drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round (112th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Hawaii. The 6-foot-1, 209-pounder played in six games for the Rams last season and finished with 27 receptions for 269 yards. His season was limited to six games due to a leg injury.

Williams, 24, was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Oct. 27, 2012 and played as a reserve in the win at St. Louis (10/28). He was signed to the New England practice squad on Sept. 1, 2012 after being released following training camp on Aug. 31, 2012. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder was originally drafted by New England in the seventh round (219th overall) out of Texas Christian in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was released by the Patriots at the end of his first training camp before being signed to the practice squad in November. Williams rotated between the practice squad and 53-man roster after being re-signed and played in two regular season games and all three postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVI, mostly on special teams.

Fayson, 25, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2011 out of Illinois. The 6-foot, 213-pounder was released by the Saints following training camp and joined the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad on Nov. 22, 2011, where spent the remainder of the season. He was released by Indianapolis on Aug. 28, 2012. Fayson spent his first two seasons in college at Florida before transferring to Illinois. He joined the Patriots practice squad on Nov. 1

The New England Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts at 4:25 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Sunday.

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