New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung announced his retirement Thursday morning on Instagram.
The three-time Super Bowl champion opted out for the 2020 season after playing in New England from 2009 to 2012 and 2014 to 2019. He spent the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to the Patriots in 2014 and beyond.
Chung captioned his announcement, “Love you all @patriots.”
“I want to say thank you to the Patriots organization, my family, my fans, coaches, just everyone,” Chung wrote. “I’m in tears writing this but I’ve decided to hang up the cleats. Bill, Mr Kraft (mean mug) thank you for giving me the opportunity to play for your team for 11 years. I love you. Bill for teaching me life on and off the field, I will not forget that. To my teammates, trainers, Eq team, video guys, meal room employees, janitors, etc. I love you guys and ladies. Thank you for being the rock to the organization. For cleaning up, feeding, taking care of me for 11 years. You will forever be family. But it’s time to start a new life. Patriot until I die!!! Love you all.”
Numerous current and former Patriots commented on Chung’s post, praising the longtime Patriots defensive back for an excellent career.
Former New England safety Duron Harmon called Chung “one of the most underrated players ever.” Linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Ja’Whaun Bentley both used the word “legendary.”
“Love you big bro and everything you’ve done for anyone you’ve ever been around!!!,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower wrote.
Chung played a versatile role in the Patriots’ defense as a strong safety, slot cornerback and linebacker. Routinely praised for his toughness, the 32-year-old appeared in 163 games for New England (including playoffs), tallying 819 tackles, 11 interceptions and 58 passes defended.
Chung was one of two safeties selected to the Patriots’ All-Decade Team for the 2010s, joining Devin McCourty.
?The guy is a really good football player,? Belichick said of Chung in 2018. ?He?s one of the best players in the league, one of the best players on our team. He does a lot of things very well and has done them that way for a long time. We?re lucky we have him. He?s an outstanding player in all the things that he does. We put a lot on him, and he always comes through.”
Chung was expected to return from his opt-out this offseason, but the Patriots are well-positioned to replace him. Safety/linebacker hybrids Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger both played well in Chung’s absence last season, and New England added another versatile defensive back this week in free agent pickup Jalen Mills.