FOXBOROUGH – Patrick Chung was sticking to football.
The Patriots safety met with the media Monday for the first time since he was indicted on a felony charge of cocaine possession in New Hampshire last week.
“If you want to talk some football, we can talk some football,’’ said Chung, who entered a not guilty plea on Monday and waived his arraignment, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. “I’m here to get ready for the Giants.’’
When asked if it’s been difficult to stay focused on football, Chung remained on point.
“I just come to work, and I play,’’ he said. “I go to meetings, get in the playbook, and get back. I’m coming off an injury, so I’m trying to get back.’’
Chung broke his arm in Super Bowl LIII and also had shoulder surgery in the offseason to fix a lingering problem. He’s practiced most of the summer with a red noncontact jersey but got to shed that on Sunday.
“It’s a little hard to practice with a red jersey on in pads, so it feels good to get out there and be able to get a little physical and use my body a little bit,’’ he said. “So, it’s been good. I feel good. I’m out of the red jersey, so that’s a step in the right direction.’’
Chung said wasn’t sure if he’d play against the Giants Thursday (“That’s Bill [Belichick’s] decision,” he said) and wasn’t quite ready to commit to being ready for the Week 1 opener against the Steelers Sept. 8.
“I don’t know. Right now, I’m just trying to get right,’’ he said. “That’s a while from now. We still have a game before the Steelers. So, right now, I’m just trying to get the rust off and get going.’’
Josh McDaniels welcomed back three projected top receivers in the last week in Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon.
It was a welcome boost for the offensive coordinator, who also has worked with a bunch of younger receivers this summer in N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Braxton Berrios.
“Was I excited that those guys are back? Yeah, for them and for us,’’ McDaniels said Monday. “They’re excited to be back on the field and not in a rehab situation. Certainly, we’re excited to have them on the field, doing the things that they can do and trying to work back in and gain consistency as an offense.’’
McDaniels, who worked with Thomas when both were in Denver, raved about his impact on the team, even though he was just activated last week.
“He’s a great guy, a great teammate, works extremely hard, worked hard on his rehab all year, and has been a great influence on our entire offensive group, not just the receivers,’’ said McDaniels. “This guy’s got a lot of knowledge and he’s played in a lot of important games and he’s won a lot of big games and made a lot of great plays. He’s a pretty decorated player, it’s great to have him back out there and now it’s just about continuing to put one day in front of the next and try to build continuity and rhythm.’’
DT Pennel released
The Patriots continued to pare the roster in advance of Saturday’s cutdown day, releasing veteran defensive tackle Mike Pennel Jr.
A sixth-year veteran, Pennel had tumbled down the depth chart behind Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Adam Butler, and rookie Byron Cowart.
Guy has been a steady inside force for two seasons and Shelton has had an outstanding spring and summer. Butler provides great inside pocket pressure in subpackages, and Cowart has really surged the last few weeks.
Additionally, defensive end Michael Bennett shifted inside in some subpackages against Carolina on last Thursday and that likely will be the case during the regular season as well.
Andrews sits out
Starting center David Andrews missed his second straight practice as the Patriots worked out in full pads on back-to-back days. Andrews started Thursday’s game against Carolina. Full attendance was a challenge but tight ends Ben Watson (concussion protocol) and Lance Kendricks and running back Damien Harris weren’t spotted. Kendricks and Harris suffered undisclosed injuries against the Panthers . . . On defense, edge rushers Derek Rivers and Shilique Calhoun weren’t seen . . . Jerod Mayo wouldn’t budge when asked if he’s calling the defensive plays this season. “Every day is different, this is Coach Belichick’s defense, this is his team, so whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do.’’ Does that include calling plays? “That’s one of those questions you’ve got to ask coach.’’ . . . The team waived running back Robert Martin a day after he was signed . . . Receiver Maurice Harris and defensive end Keionta Davis, who were waived Sunday with injury designations, went unclaimed and reverted back to the club’s injured reserve list. They could be released with an injury settlement if they become healthy enough to play this season.