BOSTON (CBS) — Last week, longtime Patriots safety Patrick Chung announced his retirement from the NFL. On Monday, his now-former bosses sent their praises.

Chung was drafted by the Patriots with the 34th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Oregon. He played his first four seasons in New England before departing for one year to play for the Eagles. He returned to New England in 2014, and he remained there through his final season in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Both Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick took some time to issue statements on the retirement of the 33-year-old Chung. Notably, Belichick said that Chung ranks among the greatest players he’s ever coached.

Here’s what they said.

BILL BELICHICK
Patrick Chung is a special person and player, one of the pillars of our program and truly in the upper echelon of the many greats I have had the privilege to coach It all stems from his passion for the game and tone-setting, team-first attitude.

Pat’s combination of toughness, intelligence and versatility was exceptional and it enabled him to perform more roles than most any player I have ever seen.

Bill Belichick, Patrick Chung (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In any setting, whether in the locker room, in meetings, on the practice field, during games and in the biggest moments, Pat was everything a coach could want. It is no accident that his teams competed for championships virtually every year of his Patriots career. I applaud him for a remarkable career and am grateful for all he did for me and our organization.

ROBERT KRAFT
For more than a decade, Patrick Chung was a versatile and valuable contributor to our team and in our community. I remember when I first met him in 2009 on the day we introduced him to the media. We talked about his love of his family and his passion for football. He had a great smile, a big personality and a relentless work ethic, which earned the respect and affection of his coaches and teammates, as well as Patriots fans everywhere.

Twelve years later, Patrick retires as three-time Super Bowl Champion to spend more time with his family and pursue new passions in his life. We will be eager to welcome him back for the many alumni events and championship celebrations we will host in the future.

CBSBoston.com Staff