Patriots' Patrick Chung Explains Decision to Opt Out of 2020 NFL Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2020

New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung decided to opt out of playing the 2020 season out of an abundance of caution. 

Appearing on CBS This Morning, Chung said he chose to sit out this year based on a variety of factors involving his family. 

"I have a girlfriend that's pregnant, a baby girl coming soon, my son has a little asthma, my dad is 75 years old," he explained. "I just felt like this was the best decision for my family to keep everyone safe."

Chung is one of six Patriots players who have opted out of playing during the 2020 season. Chung, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and fullback Danny Vitale were projected as starters for head coach Bill Belichick. 

Under the amended collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA for this season, players deemed high risk for COVID-19 who opt out receive $350,000 and an accrued year of service time. 

Chung falls into the category of players who aren't considered a high risk for the coronavirus. He is eligible to receive $150,000 by opting out, but the 32-year-old won't receive an accrued season toward free agency.

The Oregon product has played 10 of his 11 NFL seasons for the Patriots, with the 2013 season being spent with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jamaica native was drafted No. 34 overall by New England in 2009 and has won three Super Bowls with the organization. He had 51 combined tackles and three pass breakups in 13 games last year.