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Patriots release Branch, Koppen, Hoyer

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Wide receiver Deion Branch was among several veteran players released by the Patriots on Friday.

New England has also released Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth as the team gets younger at wide receiver. Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Jesse Holley are now the primary backups behind Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez also split out at wide receiver in many formations.

Veteran center Dan Koppen was released, according to the Boston Globe, and the Patriots will apparently enter the season with Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett at quarterback with Brian Hoyer also let go.

Safety James Ihedigbo was also among those released.
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