James Develin suffers broken leg, out 6-8 weeks

James Develin suffers broken leg, out 6-8 weeks

Brown University grad and New England Patriots full back James Develin suffered a broken right leg in Friday nights preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, according to reports.

Now in his fourth year out of Brown, Develin figures to be sidelined at least eight weeks, making him a candidate for the relatively new short-term injured reserve designation.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered no update on Develin in a conference call with reporters on Saturday, other than to say that the fullback had stayed behind in Charlotte.

Teams are permitted to place one player on short-term injured reserve after the final roster reduction on Sept. 5, keeping that player out of practice for six weeks and out of games for eight weeks. Because the designation is limited to one player, the Patriots will have to decide whether Develin is likely to return around the time he’s eligible to be activated, and whether he would be the best use of the one spot.

The fullback caught a 10-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter on Friday night and was hit by Carolina’s David Mayo. Develin was carted off the field.

Develin has seven carries for 15 yards and a touchdown in his first three seasons in the NFL, and he has caught 10 passes for 105 yards. He also caught a touchdown pass in the AFC title game last season. Thanks to his ability to block in two-back sets and on kickoff returns, he has carved out a niche on the roster in a pass-happy era when the fullback position sometimes seems antiquated.

If Develin lands on injured reserve — either short-term or full-season — his roster spot could mean the team keeps an extra tight end, another potential contributor in both blocking and catching short-range passes.