Newly retired New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung knew this past spring it was time to hang up his cleats. That didn't make relaying that decision to hooded head coach Bill Belichick any easier.
"That was probably the hardest conversation I've had in a while," Chung said via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "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."
The veteran safety announced his retirement back in March, capping off an 11-year NFL career in which he was part of three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams. Chung initially planned to play in 2021 after opting out of last season but ultimately decided this spring it was time to move on.
Chung said he is staying in contact with many of his former teammates and shared a touching story of how second-year safety Kyle Dugger called to ask if he could wear Chung's former jersey number.
"That's huge respect," Chung said. "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."