Longtime New England Patriots fullback James Develin retires


New England Patriots fullback James Develin announced his retirement from football on Monday, citing “unforeseen complications” from the neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season.

The 31-year-old Develin, who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2017, overcame long odds to break through in the NFL.

After playing on the defensive line at Brown University, he joined the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League and Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals ‘ practice squad for the final five games of the 2010 season.

He spent 2011 on the Bengals’ practice squad, and when the Bengals released him on Aug. 31, 2012, the Patriots signed him to their practice squad the next day. Develin earned a brief promotion to the Patriots’ roster late in the 2012 season before finding a permanent spot the following season.

Overall, he played in 81 regular-season games (29 starts), as well as 14 playoff games (6 starts). He was part of three Super Bowl championship teams, with his contributions especially notable in the 2018 season when the Patriots turned into a power running team late in the season in a stunning transformation.

Develin took to social media Monday to thank the Patriots organization for his many seasons with the team.

The Patriots have traditionally utilized the fullback as much as any team in the NFL under coordinator Josh McDaniels. This offseason, they agreed to a one-year deal with former Packers fullback Danny Vitale, and also selected Virginia Tech H-back Dalton Keene in the third round of the NFL draft, which foreshadowed Develin’s time on the field coming to an end.

A native of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Develin was widely respected in the Patriots’ organization. While he spent the 2019 season on injured reserve, he remained around the team in a coaching-type capacity, traveling to road games in a rarity for those in that situation.

Source : ESPN