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Could Deion Branch, Troy Brown and/or Kevin Faulk join coaching staff?

How does Tom Brady keep going after 20 NFL seasons? It's clear the haters have a big role in motivating the GOAT each offseason.

Three former Patriots players spent the spring working with the team. Former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk and receivers Troy Brown and Deion Branch helped run drills, Mike Reiss of ESPN reports.

It may have served as an internship or a tryout. Or both.

Bill Belichick’s staff appears to remain influx with holes to fill, so it’s possible the Patriots could hire one or more of the former players.

As Reiss points out, the Patriots will need a coach to work with the receivers when assistant Joe Judge is working with the special teams in his other role. Judge serves as the special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.

Patriots receivers not on special teams don’t stand on the sideline and watch the special teams practice. They are off to the side working on their own.

Belichick always has made room on his staff for his former players. He hired former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo as linebackers coach in March and appears to be grooming Mayo eventually to call the defensive plays.

For now, Belichick is expected to be more involved with the defense and call the plays.

The Patriots have lost two of their top defensive assistants since the end of last season with Brian Flores leaving for the head coaching job in Miami and then Flores’ replacement, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, resigning abruptly after only a few weeks. Cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer followed Flores, and defensive line coach Brendan Daly went to Kansas City.