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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

September 10, 2009 at 11:01 AM

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Deion Branch, the Erik Bedard of the Seahawks?

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Maybe Deion Branch's injury is just a very minor tweak of his hamstring. Maybe he'll be back on the field for practice on Thursday or perhaps Friday, ready to play when the Seahawks begin the season.

And maybe, just maybe, Seattle keeps talking itself into the possibility that Branch will be a contributor.

Sisyphus had his rock, Seahawks fans have Deion Branch and every year they push themselves toward the possibility he'll be ready to contribute.

But if you're counting on Branch to contribute, you're spitting into the wind of history on that one.

What was that old saying? Fool me once, shame on, shame on you. Fool me twice -- never fool me again? I seem to recall a president saying something like that.

Now, Branch isn't trying to fool anyone. He's suffered through a series of injuries that are as legitimate as they are unfortunate, but at this point, it would be foolish to bank on his ability to stay healthy yet every Seahawks' season seems to start with the idea that maybe, just maybe, he'll catch a little luck and stay on the field. Every year, he does just enough to make you think that if he could just stay healthy, he could really contribute.

And for the third consecutive year, he's trying to fight through an injury.

In 2007, it was going to be the first year he'd really had a chance to work with Matt Hasselbeck, to build a rapport and a rhythm after arriving in the second week of the 2006 regular season. Well, he didn't catch a pass in the Seahawks' first game that year and in the fifth game at Pittsburgh, he went down with a foot injury that kept him out the next four games.

That injury was no joke. It was a lisfranc fracture and we all know what an evil little witch of an injury that can be. Just ask former UW quarterback Isaiah Stanback.

He had three 100-yard receiving games in his 19 games with Seattle before that foot injury. He has not surpassed that plateau in the 14 regular-season games he's played since that foot injury.

In the Seahawks playoff loss to Green Bay that year, he suffered a very serious knee injury, tearing the anterior-cruciate ligament. They had to wait quite a while for the swelling to go down before they could operate. He wasn't ready to play until October last year, and then he hurt his foot his first game back and had to miss another five. He came back and contributed in the final two months of Seattle's lost season. He caught four passes for 88 yards and a couple of touchdowns against the Patriots his former team and you could start talking yourself into the idea that maybe he could give Seattle something in the next season. Now, it wasn't going to be enough to live up to the expectations that underwrote the contract Seattle paid him in 2006 let alone the fact the Seahawks gave up a first-round pick for the privilege to pay him that money. But maybe, just maybe, he could contribute.

And maybe he still can, but at this point, you might end up fooled for a third consecutive season if you were expecting a hale and hardy Branch throughout this year.

Branch's number of receptions has declined for three successive seasons. Has the deal been as disastrous as the Mariners trade for Erik Bedard? There are some similarities to be certain since the biggest problem for both has been staying healthy. The Mariners gave up more to get Bedard while the Seahawks ponied up an open-market value contract in acquiring Branch.

The biggest difference, though, is there's a chance Branch can maybe -- just maybe -- this injury isn't anything all that serious and he'll get a chance to contribute soon.


Seahawks logo.gifSeahawks injury report
LT Walter JonesKneeLT Walter JonesKnee  
C Chris SpencerQuadricepsC Chris SpencerQuadriceps  
WR Deion BranchHamstringWR Deion BranchHamstring  
CB Travis FisherHamstringCB Travis FisherHamstring  
DE Derrick WalkerHamstringDE Derrick WalkerHamstring  
S C.J. WallaceRibS C.J. WallaceRib  
Rams logo.gifRams injury report
S Craig DahlHamstringS Craig DahlHamstring  
LB Larry GrantKneeT John GrecoHand  
T John GrecoHand    
QB Marc BulgerFingerQB Marc BulgerFinger  
RB Sam GadoRibsLB Larry GrantKnee  
RB Mike KarneyAnkle    
DE Leonard LittleKnee    


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