Patriots

Is Patrick Chung facing NFL suspension, and if he is how would Patriots cope?

Is Patrick Chung facing NFL suspension, and if he is how would Patriots cope?

FOXBORO — Odds are the Patriots aren't going to have to worry about taking the field without Patrick Chung any time soon. 

Even though he's facing an arraignment in New Hampshire next week after being indicted for felony cocaine possession on Aug. 8, there are multiple factors that will go into Chung's ability to be on the field come Week 1. 

The first is the timing of the legal proceeding. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Belknap County court documents say that if Chung's case goes to trial it might not occur until after the 2019 NFL season in March. 

Then there's the reality that the NFL seems to be relying more on local law enforcement to come to a decision in cases pertaining to league individuals before a decision is made on punishment. 

The NFL investigated Tyreek Hill's recent case but leaned on the point of view of local authorities in explaining why Hill wasn't suspended, saying, "Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child's injuries . . . If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time." 

In the case of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, commissioner Roger Goodell was very open in explaining that the league would wait for the legal proceedings to play out before determining if any punishment would be handed down. 

It would make sense, then, for the league to wait until Chung's legal proceedings play out before imposing any kind of punishment. 

According to the NFL's policy on substance abuse violations, a player convicted of a violating the law is "subject to appropriate discipline as determined by the Commissioner . . . Discipline for a first offense will be a suspension without pay for up to four regular and/or postseason games."

If Chung is not found to have violated any laws, and if he is a first-time offender in the league's eyes, he would avoid suspension altogether but be entered into the league's substance abuse program. Players who have committed multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policy — players who are in the program because of a previous offense — would be eligible to be suspended. League policy is to keep first offenses confidential.

Given the timing of Chung's legal proceedings, and given the league's recent deference to local law enforcement, if he is going to face suspension, it appears as though it wouldn't come down until before the 2020 season at the earliest. 

That means the Patriots shouldn't have to plan for what their defense would look like without Chung for a while. But the 32-year-old is a critical piece to the overall operation and would be one of the more difficult players to replace on that side of the ball because of his unique skill set as a hybrid safety/linebacker. 

Under contract through 2021, Chung really has no logical replacement currently on the roster. Fellow safety Terrence Brooks has seen some snaps as an in-the-box safety this summer, and Obi Melifonwu — thanks to his size and athleticism — would be an interesting fit as a defensive back deployed closer to the line of scrimmage. When Chung has missed time in the past, the Patriots have used Devin McCourty closer to the line of scrimmage and played free safety Duron Harmon more frequently in McCourty's place.

Those types of considerations, as of right now, seem to be a long way off. It looks like it's going to be a while between now and whenever the Patriots would even have to think about taking the field without Chung because of any punishment levied by the league.

Patriots release statement on Chung situation>>>>>

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Tom Brady: 'Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms'

Tom Brady: 'Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms'

The New England Patriots are facing a lot of uncertainty this offseason as Tom Brady will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

At this point in time, it's unclear what he will be doing. And Brady isn't giving any hints ahead of his mid-March decision.

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Brady recently addressed his future in an interview on Westwood One radio and said that he will embrace the future "with open arms."

"I am open-minded about the process and at the same time I love playing football and want to continue to play and do a great job," Brady said. "I am looking to what is ahead. Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms."

Patriots fans won't be encouraged by this seemingly non-committal answer, as it seems that there is a legitimate chance Brady will leave. This is especially true considering the rumors that Brady is planning on hearing pitches from opposing teams this offseason.

Still, there's a chance that Brady returns to Foxboro. But as long as he keeps his preferences close to the vest, there will be uncertainty surrounding the Patriots starting quarterback position.

Why Patriots center David Andrews is rooting for the Titans in the AFC Championship

Why Patriots center David Andrews is rooting for the Titans in the AFC Championship

Fans of the New England Patriots may be conflicted about whether to root for the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game. They are coached by former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, but they also knocked the Patriots out in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

But regardless of how fans feel, there is one member of the Patriots who will be pulling for the Titans on Sunday. And that's center David Andrews.

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Andrews, who spent all of the 2019 season on IR with blood clots in his lungs, is rooting for one of his college teammates and closest friends, Titans center Ben Jones.

"Watching him have success is really special," Andrews said of Jones to ESPN's Mike Reiss. "I'm pulling for him all the way."

Andrews spoke about how close that he and Jones became during his recruiting process. And Andrews described Jones as a mentor to him.

"When I was in high school, I remember a lot of people said, 'You're too small to play at Georgia.' But then came Ben, and he wasn't much bigger than me, and I really looked up to him," said Andrews, per Reiss.

"When I was getting recruited, he was always great. I would go see him and he'd let me hang out with him. He'd give me leftover Georgia gear that I could wear around my high school and think I was pretty cool. Then once I got to Georgia, he really took me under his wing. Ben was always a sounding board for me -- people called us father and son because we acted a lot alike."

Jones clearly did a good job helping Andrews to develop. Despite his lacking size, Andrews has been one of the NFL's most consistent centers when healthy. And though Ted Karras filled in well in place of Andrews this past season, the team still missed their solid interior blocker.

It's easy to see why Andrews is rooting for his friend and perhaps Jones and the Titans will pull off a third consecutive upset. We'll soon find out who will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl as Jones' Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs will square off for the conference title on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m.