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Bill Belichick Releases Incredible Statement On James Develin’s Retirement

A closeup of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick during a game.

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 09: Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Patriots have undergone major changes this offseason. First, Tom Brady opted to leave Foxborough for Tampa Bay. He was later joined by Rob Gronkowski. Then, on Monday, veteran fullback and fan-favorite James Develin announced his sudden retirement.

Both players have been an integral part of the Patriots' culture over the past few decades. Brady clearly is the more popular player, and for good reason. But Develin's on- and off-the-field impact was substantial during his New England career.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick released an incredible statement following Develin's retirement announcement Monday afternoon. He clearly has great respect for the veteran fullback.

"To some people, James Develin may be 'unsung' in terms of publicity and fame, but to his coaches and teammates he is one of the most appreciated and respected players we have ever had," Belichick wrote. "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."

It's extremely rare for Belichick to react in a manner like this. It's clear Develin means a lot to the Patriots head coach.

It'll be strange not seeing No. 12 and No. 46 on the field at Gillette Stadium next season.

New England will have a whole new look in 2020.