The Patriots have tendered fullback James Develin. (NFL Game Rewind)

The Patriots have tendered exclusive-rights free agent James Develin. (NFL Game Rewind)

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, fullback James Develin has signed his exclusive-rights tender and will return to the New England Patriots.

Develin, 26, is the first of New England’s five exclusive-rights free agents to reportedly sign his one-year pact with the organization. The former Brown defensive end first joined the Patriots on the practice squad in 2012, after stops with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals.

He’s played in 33 regular-season games since.

A core special-teamer, reserve tight end and lead blocker, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Develin has garnered seven carries for 15 yards and 10 catches for 105 yards over his tenure in Foxborough.

Develin scored his second career touchdown one a one-yard pass against the Indianapolis Colts in January’s AFC Championship Game.