Retired Patriots Fullback James Develin Explains Why He Walked Away From Game


Apr 28, 2020

New England Patriots fullback James Develin made the difficult but smart choice to retire Monday. And his decision might have changed if the circumstances were different.

Develin suffered a neck injury last season that landed him on injured reserve. He said Tuesday in a video conference call that the ailment, “exposed some things that posed a potentially risky situation continuing to play the game of football.”

“When I kind of got the news that I had the situation going on that I had, it was a tough pill to swallow because I wasn’t really prepared for it,” Develin said. “I had really no prior knowledge of it. The one thing that really shed some clarity in the situation was my wife was there with my daughter. So, it was just an immediate reminder of what is important in life because had they not been there, my sense of manly pride, me trying to be a tough guy, maybe I would have said, ‘I could play through that. I’ll just tough it out.’ But really, it was in the best interest of me, my wife, my three kids. It would be an ignorant thing and a selfish thing to continue to play the game. I did what was best for my family.”

Develin said he received that news “months” ago.

“It was a tough decision, one that took a lot of emotions and time to kind of talk through with my wife and I, but I am at solace with the decision that it was made with my family’s best interest in mind,” Develin said.

Develin said he’s considering going into coaching and a future role with the Patriots. It was revealed he was a unanimous selection for the Patriots 2010s All-Decade team that will be announced in full Wednesday.

The Patriots knew Develin’s situation was uncertain when they signed free-agent fullback Danny Vitale. The Patriots also have fullback Jakob Johnson as an additional player on their 90-man roster since he’s part of the NFL’s international pathway program.

More Patriots: James Develin’s Retirement Could Have Domino Effect

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots fullback James Develin
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