Develin trying to muscle out more opportunities

Develin trying to muscle out more opportunities
December 4, 2013, 3:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- Those who saw James Develin's fantastic 1-yard touchdown run against the Texans haven't stopped talking about it.

Well, everyone except Develin.

"Not much to say," he shrugged Wednesday. "I just tried to get in there and do my job. The opportunity came, which doesn't come very often for fullbacks to get the ball down there, and I just tried to keep my legs going and do my job and get in there."

Develin, who had never received a hand-off in the NFL before Sunday, was tapped for a third quarter first-and-1 on Houston's 1-yard line.

Surprising, no?

"A little bit," he smiled. "Like I said before, it's not too often a fullback gets his number called. I knew I had to make the most of the opportunity I was given because if I didn't then I probably wouldn't get it again."

He tried to go over the top and got stuffed by Texans defenders. But Develin stayed on his feet and muscled through to his left, ducking and bouncing off multiple tacklers to get into the end zone.

The toughness is something he developed as a defensive end at Brown University.

"You've got to be like a controlled animal on defense. I've always liked that mentality and I've tried to bring that to my game. Fullback really allows me to do that because your No. 1 job is to go out there and hit people."

Nice moves for a former NFL-longshot.

Develin graduated from Brown in 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering. The fact science, structures, and systems provided a secure backup plan gave him the freedom to chase a dream.

He went after football from the only angle he could, choosing to switch from defensive end, where he was considered undersized at 6-3, 251, to fullback. Develin spent time in the United and Arena football leagues before getting picked up by the Bengals.

He debuted with the Patriots in 2012. The wait was worth it.

"Football is something that's not around your entire life," Develin pointed out. "I have that degree in my back pocket and that'll be there with me until I die. I knew if I didn't give it my best shot to try and play football as a career, I'd always regret it. I took a little bit of a risk and luckily it worked out."

His performance against Houston can only help his cause.

Quarterback Tom Brady was asked Wednesday if he did a double-take when the goal line call came in for Develin. His response? Not really. And if anyone had any doubts that day, they vanished in the wake of Develin's hard-nosed run.

"I think he gives everybody confidence that he can do those things. Then when you give it to him and you see a fourth or fifth effort on a score, you want to give the guy more opportunities," Brady explained. "That’s what it’s like: You do something good, you get more opportunity, and you keep gaining the trust of the coaches, you’re going to have more chances as the season goes on."