Patrick Chung and Bill Belichick developed a close relationship during their years together in New England, and that made it hard for Chung to tell Belichick their relationship was over.
“I just went and talked to Bill,” Chung said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “That was probably the hardest conversation I’ve had in a while. I respect him. He respects me. It’s more than player to coach with me and Bill. I felt like I was letting him down, but it was something I had to do for my family and me.”
Chung said he’ll still cheer for the Patriots and especially for second-year safety Kyle Dugger, who sought Chung’s permission to take the No. 23 jersey that Chung no longer wears.
“That’s huge respect. A lot of people don’t have to ask: If it’s open, take it. For him to call and ask, when he didn’t have to, I appreciated that,” Chung said. “He asked me for the number and I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ I told him to take it over. I pray to God he’s way better than I am, because that’s only going to help us as Patriots. Hopefully, he gets to that point. I hope he can. He’s young, he’s raw, he has the instincts, has all the intangibles, so I’m praying for that.”
Belichick would love to see Dugger become the kind of safety that Chung was for many years in New England.