April 27 (UPI) -- Longtime New England Patriots fullback James Develin is retiring from the NFL due to "unforeseen complications" from a neck injury that required surgery last year.
"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 Monday on Instagram. "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. To sit here, the man I am today, and think of my personal growth both on the field and off in the past 10 years of my NFL career is truly humbling. I am incredibly proud of my journey within the sport, and I will forever be indebted to the game that gave me so much."
After playing as a defensive lineman at Brown University, Develin joined the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League and Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of AF2 -- the minor league organization of the Arena Football League. He went on to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad for the last five games of the 2010 campaign.
Develin spent the 2011 season on the Bengals' practice squad before he was released in August 2012. The Patriots signed him to their practice unit the day after the Bengals cut him, and he played in all 16 regular-season games from 2013-18.
"In football, there are a lot of tough, unselfish and dependable people who bring positive leadership on a daily basis, but the name James Develin represents those qualities at an elite level," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement.
"A tribute to the impact James had on our success, of the five seasons in which he appeared in every game, we won three championships. Any team would be fortunate to have a James Develin type on its roster, but the reality is he is a rarity and we are very fortunate he was a Patriot."
Develin, 31, was a Pro Bowl selection with the Patriots in 2017 and won three Super Bowl titles with the franchise.