Patriots safety Patrick Chung says his decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season was “tough,” but he ultimately chose to do so because of circumstances involving his family.
“I just felt like this was the best decision for my family to keep everyone safe,” Chung said. “I don’t think it’s fair to them. I decided to do that. It’s not over; it’s just postponed a little bit.”
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” Wednesday, Chung explained that his girlfriend is pregnant with a baby girl, his 9-year-old son has “a little asthma,” and his father is 75 years old.
Chung, an 11-year veteran and former team captain, said his decision has “nothing to do with the league,” and is simply a reflection of his personal situation.
“You want to play football,” Chung said. “I’m at the latter end of my career, so I wanted to play football. When it comes down to it, I feel money’s just not that important.”
As a voluntary opt-out, Chung will receive a salary advance of $150,000.
Coach Bill Belichick was supportive of the decision, according to Chung.
“He understands it’s a serious pandemic going on,” Chung said. “He totally got it. You guys think Bill’s this drill sergeant, but he’s actually a very caring person. He totally understood. That was it. It was a short phone call.”
Chung is among six Patriots — so far — to opt out of the season. Running back Brandon Bolden, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, guard Najee Toran, and fullback Dan Vitale all have also elected not to play.
As for whether he thinks there will be a full NFL season this year? Chung is hopeful, though he also acknowledged that it’s difficult to see that happening should the virus continue to spread.
“Only time will tell,” he said.