Patriots’ James Develin announces retirement due to ‘unforeseen complications’ from neck injury

Longtime Patriots fullback James Develin has announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday after spending a decade in the league. The 31-year-old walks away from the game “due to unforeseen complications” from the neck injury he sustained in Week 2 last year and placed him on injured reserve. Devein noted that “it is both in my and my family’s best interest to retire from the game of football.” 

“To sit here the man I am today, and think of my personal growth both on the field and off in the past 10 years of my NFL career is truly humbling,” Develin wrote. “I am incredibly proud of my journey within the sport, and I will forever be indebted to the game that gave me so much.” 

Develin’s football journey is a wild one. He played his college ball at Brown University, where he played along the defensive line. After going undrafted in 2010, he signed on with the Arena Football League’s Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and later joined the UFL’s Florida Tuskers before landing on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad in November of 2010. After spending the following 2011 campaign on Cincy’s practice squad, he was eventually waived during final roster cuts in the summer of 2012, Develin found a home with the Patriots. 

In New England, he blossomed into the team’s fullback, a role that made him a cult hero in various pockets of the region. With the Patriots, Develin was able to help the franchise win three Super Bowl titles and was particularly vital in their run to Super Bowl LIII. During that championship push, Develin paved the way for running back Sony Michel, who piled up 336 yards and six touchdowns that postseason. He also delivered a key block for Rex Burkhead as he scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime of the 2018 AFC championship against the Kanas City Chiefs

Devein was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and compiled five total touchdowns throughout his career. 

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