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After 11 seasons, safety Patrick Chung is retiring from the Patriots

Patrick Chung played 10 of his 11 seasons with the Patriots.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Two days ago, Patrick Chung tweeted: “Big big news coming. Stay tuned!!”

Moments later, Chung jokingly revealed said news: “I saved money with Liberty Mutual.”

But it turns out there actually was something bigger in store. On Thursday morning, the 33-year-old safety announced he is retiring from the NFL after 11 seasons.

“I want to say thank you to the Patriots organization, my family, my fans, coaches, just everyone,” Chung wrote on Instagram. “I’m in tears writing this, but I’ve decided to hang up the cleats.”

After being drafted by the Patriots in the second round out of Oregon in 2009, Chung spent all but one season in New England. He was part of three championship squads, playing 100 percent of New England’s defensive snaps in its historic Super Bowl LII comeback.


Chung finishes his career with 778 tackles, 57 passes defensed, 11 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries, and 4.5 sacks. He played in 153 regular-season games, starting in 122, and 23 playoff games, starting in 20.

Coach Bill Belichick has said that “mistakes that [Belichick] made personally” led to Chung’s brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles for one season in 2013 but expressed appreciation that they were able to make things work the second time around.

The feelings are mutual.

“Bill, Mr. Kraft (mean mug), thank you for giving me the opportunity to play for your team for 11 years,” Chung wrote. “I love you. Bill for teaching me life on and off the field, I will not forget that.”

In his note, Chung also thanked his teammates as well as staffers, including trainers, equipment managers, janitors, cafeteria workers, and video coordinators.

“I love you guys and ladies,” he continued. “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.”


Teammates past and present flooded social media with their congratulatory messages. Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called it “an honor” to be Chung’s teammate, while wide receiver Danny Amendola called Chung “one of the toughest players [he’s] ever known.”

“You’re a legend and a real one,” echoed long snapper Joe Cardona. “Great teammate and better friend!”

Added safety Duron Harmon: “One of the most underrated players ever. Palms up! Love you bro and enjoy retirement.”

Chung opted out of the 2020 season because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. During his time away, he welcomed a daughter and started a real estate business.

“It’s time to start a new life,” he wrote. “Patriots until I die!!! Love you all.”

Without Chung, the Patriots are still in good shape at safety. Veteran captain Devin McCourty, starter Adrian Phillips, and 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger are all returning. The team also recently signed free agent defensive back Jalen Mills, who can play either cornerback or safety.

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Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang.