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Pats cut Branch, Hoyer, Koppen and Ihedigbo

Veteran wide receiver Deion Branch was among the players cut by the New England Patriots ahead of Friday night's deadline.

The Patriots released Branch five months after re-signing the 33-year-old to a new contract.

"Truly thankful for all the support from everybody. I Love You guys," Branch wrote Friday afternoon to his more than 84,000 followers on Twitter.

He was among 22 players cut by the Patriots to get their roster to 53 before the 9 p.m. ET deadline.

Also let go were quarterback Brian Hoyer, center Dan Koppen and safety James Ihedigbo.

Branch had 51 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns for the Patriots last season. The 10-year NFL veteran has played parts of six seasons with the team, winning two Super Bowls. He has 502 career receptions for 6,499 yards and 39 touchdowns, also spending four-plus seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

Hoyer was let go after three seasons and 43 pass attempts as a backup for New England. Ryan Mallett, the 2011 third-round draft pick, remains to backup Tom Brady.

Like Branch, Koppen won Super Bowls with the Patriots after the 2003 and '04 seasons. With the team since 2003, he had started all 16 games three seasons in a row but went down with a broken ankle in Week 1 last year.

James Ihedigbo started 12 of 16 games for the Patriots, making 69 tackles in his only season for the team after three with the New York Jets.

Also released were safeties Sergio Brown, Derrick Martin and Malcolm Williams, defensive linemen Marcus Harrison and Aaron Lavarias, wide receivers Jesse Holley, Kerry Taylor and Jeremy Ebert, offensive linemen Matt Kopa, Derek Dennis, Dustin Waldron, Jeremiah Warren and Darrion Weems, linebackers Niko Koutouvides and Jeff Tarpinian, fullback Eric Kettani and tight ends Alex Silvestro and Tyler Urban.