Patrick Chung is calling it a career. On Thursday, the longtime New England Patriots safety announced his retirement from the NFL. He intended to play in 2021 after opting out of the 2020 season but decided to change things up at the start of the 2021 league year.
"I want to say thank you to the Patriots organization, my family, my fans, coaches, just everyone," Chung wrote in an Instagram post. "I'm in tears writing this but I've decided to hang up the cleats. Bill [Belichick] 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."
When Chung opted out last year, he told CBS that he was going to focus on his family. "It was a tough decision," he said, per ESPN. "You want to play football. I'm in the latter end of my career, but when it comes down to it, I feel money is not that important. I have a girlfriend who is pregnant, a baby girl coming soon, my son has a little asthma, my dad is 75 years old. I just felt like this was the best decision for my family to keep everyone safe. It's not over, it's just postponed a little bit."
Chung, 33, was drafted by the Patriots in the second round in 2009. He quickly became an anchor in the secondary, posting 96 tackles, three interceptions and nine passes defended with one defensive touchdown in 2010. He also helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls and was selected to the Patriots 2010s All-Decade Team. Chung did spend one season with the Philadelphia Eagles when he signed a three-year deal with the team in 2013. But he was released from the team in March 2014, which led to the Patriots bringing him back in April of that year. Before opting out in 2020, Chung signed a two-year contract extension with the Patriots through the 2023 season.