The New England Patriots‘ long-time safety Patrick Chung is retiring from the NFL.
The 33-year-old played 11 years in the league, 10 of them with the Patriots (he spent the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Eagles).
Chung opted out of the 2020 NFL season. Then, reports indicated that he, Dont’a Hightower, and the other New England Patriots opt-outs would be returning. At some point, it seems Chung had a change of heart and has decided to call it a career.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
He was originally drafted in the second round out of Oregon in 2009. Chung never made a Pro Bowl, but his contributions as a rugged and tough, in-the-box safety helped the Patriots revolutionize a hybrid role for the position.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Twitter Reacts to Chung’s Announcement
The Undefeated’s Mark Wright paid homage to Chung with this tweet.
The legendary Tom Brady posted on his Instagram story, “it was an honor to be your teammate!!” That’s pretty high praise from any teammate, let alone the man many view as the greatest football player of all time.
Brady wasn’t the only teammate to take to social media to pay respects to Chung. Beloved wide receiver Julian Edelman also had some kind words for him.
Forbes’ Oliver Thomas shares a stat testament to Chung’s contributions to the Patriots’ pass defense during his career.
The Patriots Nation Twitter account had their own version of a tribute for Chung.
Take a listen to former NFL kicker and current podcast host Pat McAfee discussing Chung’s retirement and the ramifications of Chung’s opt-out. He’s suggesting Chung and other opt-out players may be made to pay the price for not participating in the 2020 season.
What Void Does Chung’s Retirement Have on the Patriots’ Defense?
The Patriots run defense wasn’t very good in 2020. They ranked 26th in the NFL in that department. While they did miss Chung’s ability to play bigger than his 5’11 215-pound frame, Adrian Phillips did a decent job stepping in for him.
The inexperienced linebacker group caused the biggest issue with the run defense. Absent Hightower, Kyle Van Noy (who will be back this season) and Jamie Collins, the second level of the Patriots’ defense, suffered.
The Patriots seemingly knew Chung was leaning toward retirement. They signed Jalen Mills from the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a similar skill set to Chung. Mills can play almost every secondary position, and he has no problem laying the lumber. Many have already pictured Mills in Chung’s role in 2021.
As good as Chung was for the Patriots over the past 11 years (minus 1), it would appear that with Phillips, Mills, and Kyle Dugger, the Patriots are in a position to upgrade at this crucial piece to their defense.
That should take nothing away from Chung’s overall contributions to the organization, but this was likely a good thing for both the player and team.
- Twitter Reacts to Patriots Bringing Back Two 2-Time Super Bowl Champions
- Aggressive Trade Proposals Have Patriots Landing Franchise QB in Draft
- Patriots in a Fight to Keep Team Captain and 2-Time Super Bowl Champion
- Patriots Showing Interest in Signing Super Bowl Champion RB
- Twitter Reacts to Patriots Signing 2nd Stud TE in 2 Days