On Monday, New England Patriots fullback James Develin announced his retirement from the NFL, and he’s a player Bill Belichick will miss dearly.
Develin, 31, announced his decision to retire on Instagram, noting it stemmed from complications to the injury that ended his 2019 campaign.
Belichick released a statement on Develin’s retirement via the team’s official website that showed just how much the fullback meant to him and the franchise:
“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. 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.”
That’s about as strong an endorsement as you’re ever going to see from Belichick.
During his playing days with the Patriots, Develin helped the team win three Super Bowls and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2017. He spent eight years with the Patriots, appearing in 83 games while starting 31 games.