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Patriots safety Patrick Chung announces his retirement from pro football

Related: Patriots free agency tracker: News, rumors, signings, instant analysis

Cleveland Browns v New England Patriots Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The New England Patriots have added some considerable talent to their defense during free agency week, but the unit will also be losing one of its most experienced members: long-time safety Patrick Chung announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday morning.

The 33-year-old took to social media to post the following announcement:

I want to say thank you to the Patriots organization, my family, my fans, coaches, just everyone. I’m in tears writing this but I’ve decided to hang up the cleats. Bill, 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. But It’s time to start a new life. Patriot until I die!!! Love you all

Chung originally arrived in the NFL in 2009, and his career since then can be divided up into two parts: BP and AP — before and after Philadelphia.

The first era started when the Patriots drafted him in the second round and lasted through his entire four-year rookie contract. Over that time, the Oregon product appeared in a combined 57 regular season and playoff games for the team and served as a versatile starter in New England’s secondary that was used at both safety positions and as a slot cornerback.

Chung, who also saw regular action in the kicking game over that time, was one of the few bright spots in the Patriots’ secondary between 2009 and 2012. However, he never quite lived up to his draft status — in part due to his usage — and therefore was allowed to leave the organization in free agency to sign a three-year, $10 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

While Chung started 10 of his 12 contests in 2013, he struggled to adapt to the new system and was released again after only one season. This paved the way for him to make his glorious return to the Patriots.

With Devin McCourty now firmly entrenched as the team’s starting free safety, the team was free to move Chung to a safety/linebacker-hybrid role that better suited his skillset. Chung blossomed in this role and developed into one of the best strong safeties in the NFL — one that appeared in 91 regular season games and 15 playoff contests over the six seasons since after return to New England. Along the way, he played a key role in helping the team win three Super Bowls.

Chung opted out of the 2020 season due to Coronavirus concerns before announcing his retirement earlier today.

Chung’s Instagram post looks as follows: