Boston Herald Patriots beat writer Jeff Howe reported this afternoon fullback James Develin will be placed on season ending injured reserve after fracturing the tibia in his right leg Friday night in the third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
In the fourth quarter, Develin got his right leg stuck in the field turf while being tackled to the ground after catching a completion from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He needed to be carted off the field in a stretcher and was unable to return to the game.
Howe originally reported Develin was expected to miss 6-8 weeks and could have been kept on the 53-man roster but the team felt the available roster spot was needed for an active player. The Patriots are currently at 80 players with the acquisition of receiver Jalen Saunders as new rounds of cuts continue this week.
The fullback position has been seen as a “dying breed” in recent years as concussion awareness grows throughout the sport where most fullbacks endure hard blocking and collisions.
Develin was given moderate playing time in 2014 by coach Bill Belichick and provided Brady with another viable weapon in 2014 along with effective blocking to assist the offensive line. He scored the first receiving touchdown of his career in the AFC Championship rout of the Colts.
The Patriots currently do not have a backup fullback on the depth to replace Develin but options such as 6′ 4″ tight end Michael Hoomanawanui could fill his void at the position.
James Develin will be placed on injured reserve, according to a source. His season is over.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) September 1, 2015
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