One week into his second round of unemployment this season, Deion Branch had just picked his daughter up at school when she wondered why he had so much free time.
He broke the news to 7-year-old D'Ahni.
''She said, `Dad, what happened? Why aren't you playing?''' the New England Patriots wide receiver said Thursday. ''I said, `Baby, daddy can't play right now. I don't have a job.' And she said, `aw, you'll get one.' And I said, `I know, baby.'''
It's almost as if she had sat in during her father's conversation with coach Bill Belichick.
Perhaps Belichick told him he'd return at some point?
''I'll keep that between us,'' Branch said with a smile and a laugh, one day after re-signing.
Branch was released on Nov. 17 and missed the past four games. But the nameplate at his locker, ''Deion Branch 84,'' remained - just as it did for the first two games of the season after he was cut shortly before it began. He was back for Game 3.
Standing before the locker where a family photo was ...