FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The fullback with the Ivy League engineering degree wouldn't be stopped.
James Develin kept moving his legs after being knocked back on his leap with the ball at the 1. More than half the defenders hit him. None could keep him from scoring.
The play that began at the left hash mark ended about halfway to the left sideline. That's where Develin finally fell into the end zone for a touchdown for the New England Patriots.
The long shot to play in the NFL never gave up.
"Getting your number called and knowing that you're that close and then finally plunging in there like I did, that was something that I'll never forget," Develin said. "It was just an incredible experience."
His touchdown early in the third quarter cut the deficit to 17-14 and the Patriots (9-3) went on to beat the Houston Texans 34-31 last Sunday.
"I had to make the most of the opportunity that I was given because if I didn't," he said, "then I probably wouldn't get it again."
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Develin was a defensive end at Brown, then played in the Arena Football League and the United Football League.
"I knew my road to the NFL was going to be a tough one, so I wanted to be versatile," he said about his move to fullback. "When I got in the UFL I finally made the switch."
It was hardly an instant success.
Develin spent the last five games in 2010 and the regular and postseason in 2011 on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. The Patriots signed him to their practice squad eight days before the 2012 opener and he played one game that season.
But this year he has played in all 12 games, primarily on special teams and as a blocker.
"He's done a good job of executing his role, whether it's been offensively or in the kicking game or even as it relates to the scout team in practice," coach Bill Belichick said. His offensive role has "actually expanded a little bit. I don't think he's ever going to be out there for every play offensively. That's not his role."