November 18, 2012

NFL Notebook: Branch gone as Pats make roster changes

From news service reports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Receiver Deion Branch, who re-signed with the New England Patriots in September after being released out of training camp, was released again Saturday to make room for recently acquired cornerback Aqib Talib.

The move was made in advance of Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Also, the team promoted receiver Greg Salas from the practice squad and released special-teams player Malcolm Williams.

Because the move came after the trading deadline, Branch must go through waivers and can be claimed by any team.

Branch has nine receptions for 80 yards this season, including four catches last week against the Buffalo Bills.

Salas was active for the first two games of the season but has been on the practice squad since then. He played as a rookie last season for the St. Louis Rams.

Talib was acquired Nov. 1 by the Patriots and finished serving a four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances. 

BEARS: The pressure mounted. The game was on the line. A struggling Raiders franchise wasn't accustomed to the drama, not after losing 13 consecutive games to the division rival Chargers. But something was different when the teams met in the fifth game of the 2010 season.

Former Raiders receiver Louis Murphy, now with the Panthers, felt the vibe. It had everything to do with the guy leading the huddle as the Raiders trailed 27-22 going into the fourth quarter.

Jason Campbell was in complete control.

"He brought the team together and said, 'Hey guys, let's take it one play at a time. We're going to win this game,' " Murphy recalled. "It was a crucial drive and he was just like, 'Man, fellas, let's bring it together. Let's calm down, go out there and make plays.' "

Campbell, who took over for an injured Bruce Gradkowski that day, guided the Raiders to a 35-27 come-from-behind victory. Throughout the rally, Murphy never saw his quarterback flinch.

"Those are the things you want to see from your quarterback," Murphy said. "And you want him to be able to communicate with you efficiently. That was a great characteristic he had.

"And one other thing about Jason is a lot of guys rallied behind him because he's such a competitor. He's a leader. And he's a great quarterback."

The Bears hope all those things come into play Monday night against the 49ers when Campbell starts his first game since Oct. 16 of last season. His 71st career start comes as a result of Jay Cutler being sidelined with a concussion. 

BRONCOS: Linebacker D.J. Williams is on track to make his season debut Sunday against San Diego after Denver put him on its 53-man roster.

Williams returned to practice this week after serving two NFL-mandated suspensions that cost him nine games and about $4 million.

 

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