New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is grateful to have coached fullback James Develin.

Develin announced his retirement Monday in a heartfelt Instagram post. The 31-year-old veteran, who played seven seasons and won three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots, explained that after suffering a serious injury last season, it made sense for him to step away from pro football.

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Many of Develin's teammates past and present, including quarterback Tom Brady, praised and/or wished him well in response to his Instagram post. Belichick joined them by releasing a statement Monday afternoon.

"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."


You don't often hear this type of praise from Belichick. The legendary head coaching saying that Develin is “one of the most appreciated and respected players we have ever had" is quite a statement, especially when you consider all of the great players who've called New England home over the last two decades.

It's totally warranted praise, too. Develin was a tremendous teammate and a valuable player.

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