The Patriots offense is beginning to look unrecognizable.
Veteran fullback James Develin announced his retirement on Instagram on Monday after seven seasons and three Super Bowls with New England. The 31-year-old spent most of the 2019 season on injured reserve due to a lingering neck injury.
“Due to unforeseen complications with the injury that ended my season last year, I have decided it is both in my and my family’s best interest to retire from the game of football,” Develin wrote. “I’ve always maintained a belief that in the sport, the team is MUCH more important than myself as an individual… and that belief still rings true, as I have to prioritize my team at home before anything else.”
Develin is the latest mainstay on the Patriots’ offense that won’t be on the team’s roster for the 2020 season. After franchise quarterback Tom Brady announced he would be leaving New England to sign a two-year, $50 million guaranteed contract with the Buccaneers, star tight end Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement only for the Patriots to trade him to Tampa Bay.
The Patriots also released longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who became the organization’s all-time leading scorer in 2014, at the end of March.
The Patriots’ rushing attack struggled in Develin’s absence in 2019. Losing starting center David Andrews after he was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism and Gronkowski to retirement didn’t help much either.
Undrafted fullback Jakob Johnson replaced Develin until a shoulder injury derailed his season, but he is under contract for 2020. The Patriots also signed veteran free agent fullback Danny Vitale on March 21.
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