Patriots: Patrick Chung announces retirement in thoughtful Instagram

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Patrick Chung #23 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Patrick Chung #23 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots’ defense wasn’t as sharp as it normally was during the 2020 season, and it doesn’t take a football savant to see that the loss of versatile safety Patrick Chung hurt this team in more ways than one.

Chung, a former second-round pick out of Oregon, started 122 games during 10 seasons with the Patriots, choosing to opt out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing backups into starting roles.

With New England unable to replicate their top-ranked defense from the 2019 season, it’s clear that Bill Belichick leaned heavily on veterans like Chung.

While Chung was expected to return to New England, who has been absolutely killing it on the free agent market after a subpar 2020 campaign, it appears as though Father Time has caught up with him, which has forced Chung to hang up his cleats.

Chung confirmed on Instagram that after 11 NFL seasons, 10 of which were spent under Belichick in New England, he has decided to call it quits on his NFL career.

Chung leaves behind a legacy of versatility, hard-nosed play, and always coming through with a clutch stop to kill whatever momentum New England’s opponents may have had.

Patrick Chung was an underrated DB for the New England Patriots

Chung recorded 778 tackles, 54 passes defended, 4.5 sacks, and 11 interceptions during his pro career. Given his ability to both stick tight ends in man coverage and sift through debris in the box, he was an invaluable asset for a Belichick defense that frequently moved players around the secondary.

While Chung’s one down season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 led some to believe that he was simply a product of Belichick’s scheme, New England won three championships with Chung on the roster, and in every one of them, he played an important role.

Being Belichick, however, he does have a succession plan lined up, as D-II standout Kyle Dugger, whom Belichick picked in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Lenoir-Rhyne, looks like the most natural replacement for Chung given his size and speed. If he’s half the player Chung was, he was well worth the selection.

Chung might never have been the featured defender, but he was a key member of three championship teams thanks to his versatility. Belichick wouldn’t keep throwing him out there if he didn’t believe in his value and his ability to come through in the clutch. Enjoy retirement, Patrick!

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