James Develin Was the Ultimate “Do Your Job” Player


The New England Patriots lost another starter from last season’s offense when fullback James Develin announced his retirement on Monday.  Develin is leaving the game citing “unforeseen complications” from a neck injury that ended his season last year.  He will leave the game of football at only 31 years old and he accomplished a lot in his NFL career. 

Photo courtesy CBSSports.com

Develin was apart of three Super Bowl championships during his time in New England and he was the ultimate “Do Your Job” football player for head coach Bill Belichick.   He overcame the odds to be a Super Bowl champion, he took a path to New England that started at Brown University.  He majored in engineering and was on the defensive line for the Brown Bears.  As a senior in 2009, he recorded 53 tackles, 16 tackle for a loss, five sacks and had one interception.  

He declared for the 2010 NFL Draft and went undrafted.  His journey took him to the Cincinnati Bengals and he was signed to their practice squad.  He was cut before the start of the 2012 season and immediately ended up in New England. 

The Patriots have lost Tom Brady and now officially Rob Gronkowski on the offense this offseason and Develin is another blow to this team's offense.  The team may have anticipated Develin not being able to play this season because during free agency they went out and signed fullback Danny Vitale.  The four-year veteran spent two years playing in Cleveland and played his last two seasons with the Green Bay Packers. 

One of the traits that Vitale brings to the Patriots is versatility as he can be a fullback, but he can also be used as a receiving back.  He played in 15 games with the Packers last season and started four of them.  Vitale had seven catches for 97 yards, and he averaged 13.9 yards per reception. 

Vitale will be relied on helping Sony Michel in the running game next season.  When the Patriots lost both Develin and Jakob Johnson to injury last season the team experimented with linebacker Elandon Roberts at fullback and Michel just didn’t look right.  With the Patriots looking to turn to Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer next season, the Patriots could look to run the ball more putting an emphasis on the fullback position. 

Besides Vitale, the Patriots drafted tight end Dalton Keene out of Virginia Tech in this years NFL Draft.  Keene not only played tight end as a Hokie but he was also used as a wing-back receiver.  He was also an effective blocker in college too.  The Patriots could line Keene up in the backfield and block for Michel.  The 6-foot-4, 255lbs Keene is athletic, tough and smart and will be put in a position to help the Patriots offense in many ways this season. 

The Patriots are losing a good player in Develin; a player who earned the respect from his teammates, especially Tom Brady.  Brady posted on his Instagram, “Brother, Teammate, Champion”.  Brady posted on Develin’s Instagram post, “I was so lucky to share a huddle with you Jimmy!  Your heart and soul separated you from the pack.  And we are all so proud of you and know you will be great in anything you do!!” 

Safety Patrick Chung would go on to say in response to Develin’s post, "You're a great man, father and husband.  Going to miss you on the field.''  "Keep being you and you'll be successful in anything you do my man.''

Belichick had some glowing endorsements about Develin and said, “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.”
Jeff Howe Twitter
The Patriots run game struggled last season without Develin, and now that he is retiring the Patriots will begin to rely on a new group of players.  There is one thing for certain, Develin was a grinder and hard nosed football player that overcame the odds and carved a career out in New England.  He was underrated on the gridiron but he was well respected in the locker room and with his teammates.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: James Develin Was the Ultimate “Do Your Job” Player
James Develin Was the Ultimate “Do Your Job” Player
Boston Sports Syndicate
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