What to Know
- New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung has been indicted for allegedly possessing cocaine in New Hampshire on August 8.
- The Patriots said in a statement the team would "not be commenting while (Chung's) judicial proceedings take place."
- Chung is set to be arraigned in Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia next Wednesday.
Fans of the New England Patriots were shocked to learn Thursday that veteran safety Patrick Chung had been indicted for possession of cocaine in New Hampshire.
According to court documents, Chung, 32, was found to be in possession of cocaine "on or about" June 25 in Meredith. He was indicted in a Laconia court on Aug. 8.
Chung lives in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but town records show he also owns a lakeside home in Meredith.
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He has played nine of his 10 NFL seasons for the Patriots and has won three Super Bowls. He was drafted by New England in 2009. After a stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chung was signed as a free agent by the Patriots in 2014.
As his case makes its way through the legal system, here's what we know so far.
What exactly is Chung accused of doing?
The charges stem from an incident on June 25, when members of the Meredith Police Department were called to Chung's residence on a "call for service," according to Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois. During the call, Livernois said police obtained evidence that led to the charges being filed. Chung was not arrested at that time, but the information was referred to the county attorney's office, which made the decision to indict him.
Jim Murray of 98.5 The Sports Hub — the Patriots' flagship radio station — tweeted Thursday that a source told him an alarm was tripped for a possible breaking and entering at Chung's Meredith home. As police were checking on the home, they reportedly found the cocaine.
The official indictment includes very few details, other than Chung's name, date of birth and address. The charge states that he "did possess or have under his control a quantity of the controlled drug cocaine," and that he did so "knowingly," but does not include any further details.
What are the Patriots saying?
The Patriots issued a brief statement Thursday about Chung's indictment.
"We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung," the team said. "We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place."
Chung, who is still recoering from a broken arm suffered in the Super Bowl, wasn't on the sidelines for Thursday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, as he had been for the first two preseason games.
When head coach Bill Belichick was asked about Chung afterward, he didn't say much.
"I think we released a statement on that," he said.
Patriots players had a little more to say when asked about Chung's situation.
"Obviously, Pat is a great guy," safety Duron Harmon said. "A leader. A captain. A great father. Can't talk about all the good things about Pat. Obviously, it's an ongoing investigation and all I can say is that we're rooting for Pat, we love Pat, and we're going to do everything we can to rally behind Pat and make sure he gets through this."
"Praying for the best for him," added safety Terrance Brooks. "I know I'm praying for him, whatever's going on. I know everything will work out itself. Just gotta keep moving... When I heard the news I just prayed for him and that's all we can do right now just let the rest take care of itself."
"I don't have [a reaction]," safety Devin McCourty said. "I'm like all of you guys. We'll see what happens."
Will he be suspended?
Brian McCarthy, a public relations officer for the National Football League, said in an email that the league "would monitor developments in the law enforcement matter."
According to the substance abuse policy negotiated by the league and player’s union, players convicted of breaking the law are subject to discipline as determined by the commissioner.
The NFL could suspend Chung four games for violating its substance abuse policy. But the Boston Globe's Ben Volin said he has been told that Chung wouldn't face any punishment until after his legal situation is resolved. The trial is currently scheduled for next spring, so that could mean he avoids any discipline this season.
How could this impact the team?
"It's an impact in a sense longterm.... he's such a vital player on the defense," NBC10 Boston sports anchor Raul Martinez said upon learning the news. "He was given an extension in the offseason, so he was expected to play a major role."
"I think it's a major loss when you think about football reasons, but this is a bigger thing when you think about it," he added. "Forget suspensions, this is a big deal when it comes to breaking the law."
NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran said the arrest doesn't appear to have had a major impact on Chung's standing with the team, at least so far. He said whether that changes depends on whether Belichick is just finding out about it or has known for a while.
What's next for Chung?
Chung is set to be arraigned in Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
It was not clear whether Chung had an attorney who could speak for him. Efforts to reach his agent were not immediately unsuccessful.
Michael McCann, the director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, tweeted Thursday that the charge against Chung is a Class B felony. If convicted, McCann said Chung could face up to 7 years in prison. Assuming he has no priors, McCann said he could end up with no jail time and only a fine or probation.