Patriots sign S Patrick Chung
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Safety Patrick Chung is back with the New England Patriots as the latest addition to their rebuilt secondary.
After one season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chung signed on Thursday with the team that drafted him in the second round in 2009.
"I’m glad to be back. It’s like family here. It feels like home," Chung said in a conference call. "I love the fans, love the coaches, love the environment, love the city."
The Patriots already have added free agent cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and have a vacancy at starting safety after releasing Steve Gregory. Safety Devin McCourty and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, a starter last season who could be replaced by Browner, return.
Chung said he’s excited to be in the same secondary as Revis and Browner.
"You’ve got two playmakers like that on the outside," Chung said. "It definitely helps."
Chung, 26, was released by the Eagles on March 11, the same day they agreed with former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins on a three-year contract. Both were drafted in 2009, Jenkins with the 14th pick and Chung with the 34th.
"I can’t really tell you why things didn’t work out in Philly. I don’t make those decisions," said Chung, who praised the city and the team’s coaches and personnel, "but I feel now that this has happened, I feel like it’s a better fit here. I’ve been here for four years. I know the system. I know the coaches. The coaches are cool. I know most of the players.
"Now I’m back in the city that gave me my very first chance."
Chung started 10 of the 12 games in which he played last season, making 56 tackles with one fumble recovery and no interceptions.
In four seasons with the Patriots, he had seven interceptions while playing in 50 of the 64 regular-season games with 30 starts.
Chung was plagued by injuries and never showed the consistency expected of him when the Patriots drafted him out of Oregon. He missed seven of the last eight regular-season games in 2011 with a foot injury and was sidelined for four games in 2012 with shoulder and hamstring problems.
He became a free agent after the 2012 season and signed with the Eagles on March 12, 2013.
He said he doesn’t feel he’s a different player than he was before leaving the Patriots and has no expectations for what his role might be.
"I feel I’m the same," Chung said. "The scheme, I guess, would fit a lot better."
When the Eagles released him he had "no clue" he would return to the Patriots.
But then, "I got the call and I was excited. I was happy. I was relieved."