Patriots

Patriots

The New England Patriots will be without another key defensive leader in 2020.

Veteran safety Patrick Chung told ESPN's Mike Reiss on Tuesday he plans to opt out of the 2020 NFL season.

Chung is the sixth Patriots player to pull out of the 2020 season, joining linebacker Dont'a Hightower, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale and offensive guard Najee Toran.

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A host of other NFL players also are declining to the play this season, with many citing health concerns as COVID-19 continues to impact the United States.

Chung is a vital member of the Patriots defense and has spent all but one of his 11 NFL seasons in New England. The 32-year-old agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Patriots earlier this offseason and was expected to start at strong safety. 

He also voiced concerns about safely playing the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic and reportedly considered retirement this offseason, and it appears his concerns didn't go away.