dangolka (CBS) — Patrick Chung is aware of that his NFL profession is winding down. The Patriots security will flip 33 in August, and after 11 seasons within the league, he in all probability solely has just a few extra years left as knowledgeable soccer participant.
However when it got here to enjoying soccer this yr, amid an ongoing international pandemic, Chung has little or no doubt that opting out was the most effective resolution for him and his household.
Chung is one in all six Patriots gamers to choose out of the upcoming season, which he admitted was not a simple resolution to make. He’d like to be on the market for Invoice Belichick because the Patriots open a brand new chapter with out Tom Brady at quarterback. However when weighing the dangers that go along with enjoying soccer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there was actually just one resolution to make for Chung.
“I’m within the latter finish of my profession so I needed to play soccer, however when it comes all the way down to it, cash is simply not that vital,” Chung mentioned throughout a Wednesday morning interview on CBS This Morning. “My girlfriend is pregnant with a child woman coming quickly. My son has bronchial asthma. My dad is 75 years previous. I felt like this was the most effective resolution for my household to maintain everybody protected. I don’t suppose it’s honest to them, so I made a decision to try this.
“It’s not over,” he mentioned of his profession. “It’s simply postponed a bit of bit.”
Chung wouldn’t go into particulars about his telephone name to his head coach to inform him he was opting out, however mentioned that Belichick was very understanding.
“He understands it is a critical pandemic happening. He completely received it,” mentioned Chung. “You guys suppose Invoice is a few drill sergeant, however he’s a caring particular person. It was a brief telephone name.”
Chung’s teammates are reporting to coaching camp at Gillette Stadium this week, although it received’t look something like a traditional coaching camp. Gamers spent the previous few days getting COVID exams, and day by day exams will comply with for the primary two weeks of camp. These whose preliminary exams come again detrimental will start what the league is asking an “acclimation interval” subsequent week. Gamers received’t placed on pads till mid-August.
The Patriots at the moment have extra choose outs than some other group within the NFL. Extra might quickly be becoming a member of Chung on that listing, with Monday the deadline for gamers to choose out of the season.
“I do know numerous guys are considering. This can be a scary scenario,” he mentioned. “What they resolve, I can’t communicate for them, however everybody has totally different conditions. Some folks don’t have high-risk folks of their family or round them. Hopefully, no matter they do, they make the suitable resolution that can hold their household wholesome, hold themselves wholesome and be protected.”
Sure elements of the league nonetheless must be ironed out, however the NFL goes to attempt to play the 2020 season as if it’s a traditional one — minus a preseason and followers within the stands. Chung is hopeful that the league can play its full slate of video games beginning in September, as a result of that may point out that the pandemic is enhancing across the nation.
“I pray so. That might imply this corona stuff is getting higher. However as of now it’s nonetheless a harmful factor, so I don’t know,” he mentioned. “I hope there’s for the sake of followers and for folks to handle their households, younger gamers. But when it will get worse, I don’t see it taking place. It’s about security.
“Hopefully it will get higher and the season can go. Solely time will inform,” he mentioned.