Fullback James Develin officially announced his retirement via Instagram on Monday after an impressive eight-year career with the Patriots that saw him pave the way for three Super Bowl titles with the team.
Develin spent his four-year career at Brown as a defensive lineman, recording 149 tackles and 15 sacks, before transitioning to fullback with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League under coach Jay Gruden. Develin would make the jump to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad late in the 2010 season and then spend the entire 2011 season with the Bengals in that capacity.
After being cut at the end of training camp in 2012, Develin caught on with the Patriots practice squad just days later. He'd be officially promoted to the active roster on December 16th, 2012, making his NFL debut against the San Francisco 49ers, playing 12 snaps on special teams. It would be the only game action of his first season with the Pats.
After being cut out of training camp in 2013, Develin would re-sign with the team in time for the season opener against Buffalo and would grab his first catch a week later against the Jets. He'd score his first career touchdown later that season with a tough goal-line carry against the Texans.
From 2013-2018, Develin would become a permanent fixture for the Patriots at fullback and on special teams. Aside from missing the 2015 season after breaking his tibia during training camp, Develin would dress for every game in those five active seasons. He'd make the Pro Bowl in 2017, but his best year would come in 2018, when he'd play the second-most fullback snaps in the league and score four rushing touchdowns, while lead blocking for a resurgent run game that would define the last Patriots championship.
During the Patriots run to Super Bowl 53, Develin would lead the way on all four of the team's rushing touchdowns in the AFC Championship win over the Chiefs. He'd go on to play 42 percent of the snaps in the Super Bowl, paving the way for the only touchdown of the game as the Patriots would secure their sixth title.
Develin's 2019 season was cut short by a neck injury sustained in Week 2 that landed him on Injured Reserve and his presence was sorely missed for the rest of the year. He closes out his career with three championships, 31 catches for 222 yards and 15 carries with five rushing touchdowns. Not bad for an Ivy League defensive lineman and former United Football League player who became a vital offensive player for multiple Super-Bowl-winning Patriots teams.
Our favorite photos of fullback James Develin from throughout his career with the Patriots.