Longtime New England Patriots fullback James Develin took to Instagram on Monday to officially announce his retirement. Develin, a three-time Super Bowl champion and seven-year NFL veteran, suffered a serious neck injury early in the 2019 season and apparently has not fully recovered.
New England Patriots Fullback James Develin Announces Retirement
According to James Develin, “unforeseen complications” with his season-ending injury forced him to call it a career. Develin suffered a neck injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. According to The Athletic‘s Jeff Howe, Develin risked “significant, long-term repercussions” if he suffered another football-related injury. The Patriots appeared to have some idea that this was on the horizon, as the team signed Danny Vitale in free agency and could use third-round rookie Dalton Keene in a similar role.
James Develin had one of the more remarkable paths to the NFL of any recent Patriots. A defensive end in college, Develin spent a few years at the UFL and AFL before spending the 2011 season on Cincinnati’s practice squad. He couldn’t make the Bengals roster in 2012 and the Patriots picked him up following roster cuts. Develin spent the majority of the season on the practice squad but did appear in one game.
Develin officially earned the starting fullback role in the 2013 season. While he only recorded four carries and four receptions, he was crucial to opening up rushing lanes for Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. The 2013 season also featured arguably the most famous play of his career. Facing off against the Houston Texans, Develin broke three separate tackles on a one-yard touchdown run.
Develin missed the 2015 season with a preseason leg injury but, aside from that haitus, spent the entirety of the past eight years with New England. While Develin did most of his work in the blocking game, he still had that aforementioned touchdown run and also caught a touchdown pass in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
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