ST. PAUL, Minn. — New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung isn’t the sentimental type, especially when it comes to his former team, the Eagles.
Chung wasn’t exactly a fan favorite in his one year with the Eagles in 2013, although he did start in their playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Even though he signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Eagles, Chung lasted just one season. It was a year in which the Eagles secondary led the NFL in touchdown passes allowed.
During that 2013 season, he appeared in 12 games, making 10 starts. Chung had 59 tackles and three passes defended.
During Monday’s Super Bowl LII Opening Night at the Excel Energy Center, the last thing he wanted to discuss was his year with the Eagles. When asked about it, he said, “I am here right now, I like it here.”
So it isn’t special to face the old team?
“No, not at all,” he said.
Chung began his career with the Patriots in 2009 after being drafted in the second round out of Oregon. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound ninth-year veteran, departed for that one year with the Eagles and returned to New England the next season.
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Since he has returned to New England, Chung, 30, has started 10 playoff games. All told, he has appeared in 17 career postseason games for New England, and has been a key player on two Super Bowl teams.
Before coming to Minneapolis, Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Chung “one of the best players in the NFL.”
That’s high praise from somebody who many consider the best coach of all time. Just like talking about his Eagles days, Chung didn’t want to savor any praise, even from a coach who isn’t easy to please. So when asked about Belichick’s praise, Chung didn’t show much emotion.
“We will see on Sunday,” he said.
Despite Belichick’s comments, Chung isn’t considered among the elite safeties, at least by Pro Football Focus, which ranked him the 35th best at his position this season.
That is still above average.
Chung was second on the Patriots this season with 84 tackles, including 71 solos. He also had nine passes defended and an interception.
Even though he isn’t expansive about his ability or his time with his former team, Chung has been one of the team leaders in New England.
“He brings a spirit of positivity,” said Patriots defensive lineman Adam Butler. “He is very positive.”
Butler also thinks that Chung exudes confidence.
“He is pretty chilled and laid-back, and he knows his stuff and is very positive,” Butler said.
No doubt he’s been a positive in his return to New England and he was able to put his disappointing season in Philadelphia behind him.
He doesn’t want to hear about being bad in Philadelphia or good in New England. For Chung, it’s only about winning the next game.
And while he doesn’t want to talk about his time in Philadelphia, Chung has a great deal of respect for his former team.
“They kind of have a good thing going,” he said of the Eagles. “They can run inside, outside, they do gadgets, take shots down the field and we know we have to be ready for everything when we play them.”