James Develin is rated as one of the best fullbacks in pro football, playing at a position that is more about grit than glory. Primarily used as a blocking back for tough yards, Develin has also been asked to go outside his comfort zone this season after injuries hit his team, revealing his versatility by lining up at tight end. Whatever it takes to win. Develin is no stranger to hard work. Despite an unconventional road to the top, he has a championship under his belt and a constant drive to become a well-rounded player. HOTSHOT’s newest ambassador talks about his early career, his transition from defense to fullback, and explains how HOTSHOT is a crucial part of his recovery after tough training and grueling game days.
Defense to Fullback: Can you describe your journey to the top of pro football?
My road was a bit unconventional but I wouldn't have changed a thing. I started my journey as a completely unknown free agent rookie tryout guy in Cleveland. After two days there my first stint in the league was an unsuccessful one. After that I went and played in the AFL for the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz for the last five weeks of their season. Upon the completion of that season, I started to line up job interviews in the engineering field. Soon thereafter, my agent received a call from the GM of the Florida Tuskers, a UFL team, looking for a fullback. My agent sent me down for a tryout. Meanwhile I had played defensive end all four years at Brown University and had very limited experience as a fullback. I went through the tryout and they decided to sign me to their squad. I went through training camp there and earned a starting spot halfway through the season. The day after the UFL championship game, I received a call from Cincinnati to sign to their practice squad. I was there for the remainder of the 2010 season and the 2011 season. I was released from Cincinnati after the 2012 training camp and was signed to New England's practice squad the next day. The next year I earned my spot on the 53-man roster after training camp and it's all I’ve known ever since.
What was it like to be on the championships winning team so early in your career?
The 2014 Championship team was a really special group. I was truly lucky and blessed to be a part of a team like that. The moment Tom took that final kneel down and we were Champions was surreal. Seeing that confetti fall and reflecting on all the hard work we put in to be there –both as a team and individually. still gives me goosebumps!
Your quarterback has called you the best fullback in the league. What does your position bring to the team?
I think the fullback position is still alive and well. I know there's a lot of talk out there about fullbacks being a dying breed. I might be biased but there are a lot of good fullbacks doing a lot of great work around the league. The fullback position brings an element of toughness to the offense, and can be used as sort of a Swiss Army knife if need be in other roles as well.
You like to get out there and “smash people a little bit” — how do you prepare your body for optimal performance on the field?
Haha, yeah, hitting is a huge part of football and I love it. That's what made me fall in love with the game as a kid. I try to prepare my body every offseason as well as I possibly can through my nutrition and training. I try to think of every situation my body will be in during my playing and try to train for those specific situations.
Welcome to #TeamHOTSHOT! Can you explain what you like about HOTSHOT and how you use it?
I was first introduced to HOTSHOT through our nutritionist. I was really intrigued by what I read about the product and gave it a try after a few long, hot training camp practices. I felt like it really set my body back on track to recovering for the next workout. It can be easy to overlook just how much fatigue sets in to your muscles after long workouts, and then the more you do nothing about it the more your body breaks down. With HOTSHOT I feel like it really gives my body the jolt necessary to begin the recovery process. Being an NSF-certified product, I know and trust that there's nothing in there that I shouldn't be taking. And, I honestly love the burn and tingling sensation when you taste it!