James Develin was placed on injured reserve on Monday, and his absence is one the Patriots offense will feel going forward.
Just ask Pats captain Matthew Slater, who has played alongside Develin in New England for the last seven years. The seven-time Pro Bowler reacted to the news of Develin's IR designation on NBC Sports Boston's "Monday Night Patriots."
"That's a tough one. That's a tough pill to swallow," said Slater. "I think about the 12 years that I've been here in New England and I think about the entire time that I've played organized sports — I've never had a better teammate. I've never been around a person who's been more team-oriented, who's been excited to see others have success, who's been willing to put aside his ego and anything else for the betterment of the team. James Develin is the ultimate competitor, the ultimate teammate, and when I think about this organization and what we hope to stand for, James Develin embodies all of that."
That's some major praise from a guy who's seen his fair share of players come and go in Foxboro since joining the team in 2008.
Develin suffered his neck injury during the Patriots' Week 2 matchup against the Dolphins and was replaced by Jakob Johnson on Sunday vs. the Jets. Slater, along with head coach Bill Belichick, sang the 24-year-old's praises as he was promoted from the practice squad to fill Develin's shoes.
But both Develin's leadership and his impact on the Patriots' running game will undoubtedly be missed. A decimated offensive line has already proven costly, and running the ball probably isn't about to get any easier with Develin out of the picture.
As concerning as their running woes are, Slater's comments indicate the Patriots losing such a beloved locker room presence might be the biggest blow of all.
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