In the hours after James Develin announced his retirement Monday, his head coach since September 2012 reflected on the “rarity” that the New England Patriots fullback became.
“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,” Bill Belichick said in a statement released by the organization.
“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,” Belichick continued. “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 Develin-’type’ on its roster but the reality is he is a rarity and we are very fortunate he was a Patriot.”
Develin, 31, was placed on injured reserve due to a neck injury last September. His Patriots tenure spanned 97 games, including postseason, with 37 starts.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound converted defensive lineman out of Brown University had made stops with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and Florida Tuskers after going undrafted in 2010. Develin later spent parts of two years on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad before signing to the Patriots’ scout team to begin the 2012 regular season.
The eventual Pro Bowl selection made his NFL debut on special teams that December.