Bill Belichick: James Develin was one of the most respected players we had

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Patriots fullback James Develin was not a superstar during his seven seasons in New England, but Bill Belichick considers him among the best he’s coached.

Belichick said after Develin announced his retirement today that everyone in the facility knew how much Develin contributed.

“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,” Belichick said. “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.”

Develin, who will turn 32 in July, said he decided to retire because of complications from the neck injury that cut short his 2019 season.

16 responses to “Bill Belichick: James Develin was one of the most respected players we had

  1. If the Patriots lose enough good players (TB12 and Develin amongst those), maybe another AFC East team can get around to winning the division for a change.

  2. He’s retiring because of multiple serious head/neck injuries from being one of the better players in the league for years, but cool, just talk about brady in all the comments instead of giving Develin his due respect.

  3. He was a very valuable part of their offense. Most teams have these guys, they don’t get much press but help the team.

  4. It’s really too bad. He was very good at his job and valuable to the run game. Look at the 2019 playoffs. Glad he’s able to walk away from the game though with his health and is putting his family and long-term health first.

  5. I don’t know much about him, but every team has those guys that just go out and do thier jobs. Right after the Pack brought Holmgren in they signed a journeyman by the name of Tootie Robbins. I just loved the guy even though he wasn’t a superstar by any means. Ever since then I totally appreciate those type of players. Congrats and Happy Retirement!

  6. It was evident last season just how much Devlin meant to the Pat’s run game. Devlin would just hammer guys to open a gap – especially at the goal line. Bill’s testimony is well deserved, but add fans to that list of coaches and teammates who appreciate and respect what Devlin brought to the team.

  7. Played DL at Brown and the he worked himself into by far and away the best FB in football.

    Whenever he was not available in 2015 or 2019 I just knew it would contribute in blocking the team from a SB berth.

    How he only had 1 “pro bowl”, no one will ever know.

    Thanks, James. Great story, great career.

  8. Another AFC team could win the division for a change absolutely. I thought it might take a couple years for the Fins to compete but the Bills IMO will be there at the end for sure. Funny thing, I looked at that QB NE just picked up and the highlight reel was … well not exactly a highlight reel.

  9. Unlike Brady, Develin is walking away from the game with dignity and class. Enjoy your retirement James.

  10. belichick has an unmatched knack of finding and developing hardnosed team players. usually they are dismissed or even ridiculed by media and fans when he signs them.

  11. You cant accomplish what the Pat’s have without guys like dev’s! He would go thru a brick wall for us and we would do the same for him.

  12. I loved James Develin as one of those typical unsung hero types in NE. We don’t get to see fullbacks much these days of course, but he was the type species for the ones who always get that quiet key block on a play. I don’t recall seeing him miss an assignment but I do recall noting him several times on the field for plays. With a underappreciated position like today’s fullback, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that the guy is valuable. I did not realize that he had been there for seven years now.

    Danny Vitale was supremely versatile at Northwestern, where they used him as what they called a “superback”. It’s hardly surprising to see Belichick tap him as a possible replacement. Develin did not run the ball much nor did he even have many receptions, and was mostly a blocker. Vitale is better versed in the former skillset, so it’ll be interesting to see how Belichick uses his new fullback in comparison to Develin’s old role. Chances are you’ll hear Vitale’s name more, but he’ll have to get used to having a more quiet role if he ends up being utilized like Develin was.

  13. You will love Vitale. I didn’t get the Pack letting him go at first, but it makes sense after they drafted Dillon. There wasn’t going to be room for him

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