Will the New England Patriots be without Patrick Chung for part of the 2019 season?
That question suddenly became relevant Thursday when news broke that a Belknap (N.H.) County grand jury had indicted the Patriots safety on a cocaine possession charge.
So, what does this mean for Chung going forward? He's scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday, and cocaine possession is a Class B felony that could carry anywhere from three-and-a-half to seven years of prison time.
If Chung has no prior convictions, though, he could avoid prison time and be subject to probation and/or a fine.
As for potential discipline from the NFL? The Boston Globe's Ben Volin reported Thursday that may not come any time soon.
I'm told any potential NFL punishment for Patrick Chung won't come until his legal situation is resolved. Since trial isn't expected to start until next spring, he may avoid punishment for now. He could face a 4-game suspension, but Goodell can go higher or lower based on factors— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 22, 2019
The NFL could suspend Chung four games for violating its substance abuse policy. But Volin reports the league won't discipline Chung until after his legal situation is resolved. If Chung's case goes to trial, it may not pick up again until after the 2019 season, Volin reported, citing court documents.
Patriots release a statement. Per court docs, If Chung's case does go to trial, the target date is next March for jury selection https://t.co/udt3X1RZVy— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 22, 2019
Details still are sparse, however, and it's possible the case is resolved without a trial, which would open the possibility of Chung being disciplined this season. For its part, the NFL released a brief statement Thursday saying it will "monitor developments in the law enforcement matter."
We should know more about where Chung stands following next Wednesday's arraignment, but there's a scenario where this case gets dragged into 2020.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.