When New England Patriots fullback James Develin left Saturday's game with a leg injury, it appeared to be serious.

He was diagnosed with a broken tibia, but there was a chance he could return this season. On Tuesday, however, the Patriots plan to place Develin on injured reserve, ending his season before it could begin.

The Patriots likely opted to place Develin on IR to free up a roster spot rather than wait out the injury and see if he could return during the season. Develin was a favorite of Bill Belichick's as he led the Patriots to use a fullback when they hadn't as frequently in the past.

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Last season, Develin saw time in all 16 games, mostly playing a lead-blocker role for the team's running backs.

(h/t Jeff Howe)