New England Patriots

Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots fullback James Develin (46) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

Citing complications from the neck injury that ended his 2019 season, fullback James Develin decided to call it a career on Monday.

With the Patriots since 2012, and on their 53-man roster since the start of the 2013 season, Develin was a classic fullback for the Patriots, and played a massive role in New England’s blocking game. And though Develin’s stats were never popping off the page — the Brown product totaled 15 rushes for 26 yards and five touchdowns, and caught 31 passes for 222 yards — his impact on the franchise was not lost on Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“To some people, James Develin may be ‘unsung’ in terms of publicity and fame, but to his coaches and teammates he is one of the most appreciated and respected players we have ever had,” Belichick wrote in a statement. “In football, there are a lot of tough, unselfish and dependable people who bring positive leadership on a daily basis, but the name James Develin represents those qualities at an elite level.

“A tribute to the impact James had on our success, of the five seasons in which he appeared in every game, we won three championships. Any team would be fortunate to have a James Devlin-‘type’ on its roster but the reality is he is a rarity and we are very fortunate he was a Patriot.”

The 31-year-old Develin was a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots and in 2017, became the first Patriots fullback since Sam Cunningham (1978) to earn Pro Bowl honors.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.