ON HIS SUPER BOWL MVP TROPHY Today [April 12] is my first day taking it out of the case. I've been traveling, so this is my first full day at home near Foxboro. Not a bad piece of hardware. They even give you special gloves to clean it with.
ON THE POST-SUPER BOWL HOOPLA I've lost track of how many appearances I've done. I don't mind. Just tell me where to go and what time. I did MTV's TRL and BET's video countdown show 106 & PARK. I went on Jay Leno--that was surreal. But my favorite was Regis and Kelly. A guy [Rob Sarofeen] was getting married on the show, and he was a big Patriots fan, so they asked me to come on to surprise him. He was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from a diving accident. We shocked him. I didn't stay for the whole shebang because it was the bride's day. I didn't want to take away from that.
ON HIS SUPER BOWL FAN BASE I had 75 people in Jacksonville. I couldn't get everyone into the game, but I got everyone into the celebration party. My two sisters, Toccara and Trayonia, live in Jacksonville; my little brother, Antonio, came from Georgia; my parents and my grandparents were there. All my mom [Mary] cares about is that I'm healthy, that I get out of the game without breaking anything.
ON HIS TWIN FOUR-YEAR-OLD SONS, DEIONDRE AND DEIONTEY We call them Dre (below, left) and Tey (below, right). They were premature, so they were in the hospital [in Louisville, where Branch went to college in 2000 and '01] for a month. They were out of the hospital for six days when Dre contracted spinal meningitis. Germs caused it. It could have been anything. People not washing their hands or someone kissing him. He's doing real good though. He's in a children's nursing home in Louisville, but he should be out soon.
ON SPENDING TIME WITH THEM Their birthday is April 10, and we had a party at the ice rink in Louisville. Tey got me to put on some skates and do a few circles. Their mother, Danyle, and I set up a schedule for the season, but it's hard since Dre can't fly. Tey comes as much as he can, and in the off-season I spend as much time as I can in Louisville.
ON OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHARLIE WEIS'S LEAVING FOR NOTRE DAME We're going to miss him. He had an aggressive style, very demanding. He would tell us he wanted us to succeed almost more than we wanted to succeed. That resonated. I would think, Maybe I'm really not giving it my all. That drives you.
ON BADLY SPRAINING HIS RIGHT KNEE IN THE SECOND GAME LAST YEAR A freak accident. My teammate Steve Neal was running toward me when someone on Arizona pushed him. I tried to jump, but he caught my leg. I thought it was broken when I hit the ground. It was so quiet in the stadium, and it took a couple seconds to get my air back. I lay there trying to keep my composure, but my knee felt so loose, I knew something was wrong. Steve felt bad. Every time he saw me, he hung his head. But I told him, 'Hey, man, stuff like this is going to happen.'
ON HIS REHAB The main thing was the mental part. To miss close to eight weeks killed me, but I had support from my teammates and coaches. They convinced me to get the treatment and not to try and come back prematurely. They said that as frustrating as it was, they would need me more later, when it counted.
ON HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS I tried everything because I didn't want to lift or run with my football coach [William Chunn at Monroe High in Albany, Ga.]. He was a drill sergeant. During the off-season he had the team do so much stuff. I played other sports so I wouldn't have to. He knew track made me faster and I was good in soccer, so he didn't bother me with those. But one year I tried to play tennis. I'm good at Ping-Pong so I'm like, All right, I can try tennis. I was terrible. [Chunn] came and got me the first day and said to start lifting and leave tennis alone. I also went out for baseball once. That lasted a little longer. I think I made it a week.
ON DANCING Me and my friends were in a dance group all through high school. We danced behind artists at local venues and clubs. We were good. But I can't dance anymore. The bones have stiffened up on me. --As told to Lisa Altobelli
BRANCH, 25, ONE OF FOUR RECEIVERS TO BE NAMED SUPER BOWL MVP, HAD 11 CATCHES FOR 133 YARDS IN THE PATS' 24-21 WIN OVER THE EAGLES
Photograph by Steven Freeman
"WE'RE ENTERTAINERS. WHEN I'M ON THE FIELD I LIKE TO HAVE FUN."
BILL LUSTER (BRANCH AND SONS)
AL TIELEMANS (BRANCH ACTION)