Patriots fullback James Develin suffered a broken right tibia during the Patriots’ preseason win over the Panthers on Friday evening, reports ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (via Twitter). The injury was described as a “clean break,” and the hope is that the 27-year-old can recover in six to eight weeks.
Reiss wonders if the Patriots could place Develin on the short-term injured reserve, which would be an indication that the team is confident Develin could be ready to go in two months. That might be the most logical option, as the team doesn’t have another fullback on their roster.
The Patriots let go of Eric Kettani earlier this week, but Reiss is doubtful that he would have made the roster even with Develin’s injury. Another option would be to keep four tight ends, with the coaching staff attempting to convert either Michael Hoomanawanui or Michael Williams into a fullback.
Develin went undrafted out of Brown in 2010, and he hung around with the Bengals organization until 2011. Since then, he’s been with New England, where he’s made 33 appearances over three seasons. The fullback has compiled 15 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven attempts, and he’s also caught 10 passes for 105 yards.
ProFootballFocus’s advanced metrics (subscription required) were relatively fond of Develin’s performance last season, ranking him fourth among 23 fullback candidates.