James Develin compares retiring to ‘pulling teeth’
New England Patriots fullback James Develin retired earlier this week, comparing the experience to pulling teeth. Devlin suffered a neck injury last season that ended his year. Develin said the injury showed some causes for concern about what would happen if he continued to play football.
Develin said it wasn’t an easy decision, but he knew it was the right move for his long term health. Develin said it all came down to his family, and knowing they were still there made it easy.
“It was difficult, man,” the now former Patriots back said via Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “Nobody ever wants to hear you probably shouldn’t play football anymore. It was a difficult decision. But from that moment, I was with my wife, Jenny, and my daughter who was not even 1 at the time. Having them there was the immediate sense of clarity that I needed. I knew I was lucky to make it through the game for 10 years relatively unscathed. I knew it was a decision I had to make for them and my boys.
“Still an absolutely difficult decision and one that took me through a lot of emotions and a lot of nights to finally make it. It was like pulling teeth trying to get myself to accept the fact that this was how it was going to be. It’s kind of strange. The decision was easy, but actually living it and making it real was difficult.”
Even though there was concern about his health if he continued to play, he is healthy and will be able to live a full and happy life in his retirement.
The Patriots signed fullback Danny Vitale in free agency knowing Develin might not return for the 2020 season. The Patriots also have fullback Jakob Johnson on their roster because of the NFL’s international pathway program.