The Patriots brought back a familiar face, re-signing safety Patrick Chung Thursday. The team did not release details of the contract.
Chung, 26, was the Patriots’ second-round pick in 2009 and started 30 games in four seasons, with seven interceptions, three sacks, and a touchdown in 2010. He left for Philadelphia on a three-year deal last offseason and started 10 games in 2014, but did not make much of an impact and was released March 11.
Chung had been staying in shape and waiting for the phone to ring when the Patriots, of all teams, contacted him this week.
“It’s like family here,” said Chung. “It feels like home. I love the fans, love the coaches, love the environment, love the city. It was like a blessing.”
Chung, now entering his sixth season, is no lock to make the 53-man roster, but could help replace strong safety Steve Gregory, who was released. The Patriots also have Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, and Adrian Wilson at safety, and cornerback Logan Ryan has been rumored to be switching to safety, as well.
“I don’t have any expectations,” said Chung. “Whatever Bill [Belichick] needs me to do, this team, I’m going to do it. Regardless if it’s special teams or it’s defense, whatever my role is here, I’m OK with that.
“This is where I want to be, so that’s good for me. I’m not worried about all the distractions, ‘Am I going to be playing, am I going to be doing this?’ Whatever I can do to help the team win, then I’m good.”
Chung maintained his ties to the area last year, hosting a youth music camp in Boston. His mother was a Jamaican reggae star in the 1980s.
“Regardless of where I am, I’m always going to do charity work and help the city that gave me my first chance,” Chung said. “You can’t forget about people that helped you out.”
ND’s Tuitt pays a visit
On Wednesday, the Patriots made headlines by hosting star quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater on predraft visits.
Thursday’s visitor didn’t garner the same attention, but he was an intriguing prospect nonetheless: Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, who left school a year early and announced the visit on Twitter.
Tuitt, who stands 6 feet 6 inches and 312 pounds, had 19½ sacks the last two seasons, though his production was hurt in 2013 by hernia surgery. He is versatile enough to play defensive tackle or end, and is a strong candidate for the Patriots with the 29th pick in the first round of May’s draft.
Getting starting-caliber players across the defensive line appears to be one of New England’s biggest remaining tasks.
It’s not surprising the Patriots want to take a closer look at Tuitt, who did not participate in February’s scouting combine because of a fracture in his left foot.
Private visits include medical checks and meetings with coaches and executives but no on-field work.
All booked up
The Patriots officially return to work for the 2014 season April 21 when they begin the first phase of the nine-week offseason program.
The offseason is split into three phases — the first two weeks are strength and conditioning and rehab workouts only, the next three weeks allow on-field drills but no live contact or offense-vs.-defense drills, and the final four weeks consist of 10 days of organized team activity practice, in which seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills are allowed but no live contact.
The Patriots will hold their voluntary OTA workouts on: May 27, May 29-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13. They are closed to the public.
The Patriots will also hold a mandatory three-day minicamp June 17-19 that is also closed to the public. These are the only three practices that players are required to attend this offseason, but last year every player except Brandon Spikes attended all of the OTA practices.
The Patriots will then take the rest of the summer off before reconvening for training camp at the end of July.