New England Patriots starting strong safety Patrick Chung has been indicted on felony cocaine possession charges in his home state of New Hampshire, bringing into question the availability of the 11th-year defensive back for the Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 8.
Chung, 32, was indicted by a New Hampshire grand jury on Aug. 8, but the news was not reported until Boston radio station WEEI did so on Thursday. He has an arraignment scheduled for next Wednesday.
“We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung,” the New England Patriots said in a statement. “We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place.”
The veteran safety has been participating in New England’s training camp, but has not taken part in contact drills since undergoing two offseason surgeries and has not participated in either of the Patriots’ first two preseason games.
A first offense for violating the NFL’s drugs of abuse would normally only carry a fine, but a felony conviction could trigger discipline from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, not to mention jail time.
Possession of any amount of cocaine in the state of New Hampshire is a Class B felony punishable by three and a half to seven years in jail and/or an up to $2,000 fine.
Chung’s backup is seventh-year safety Duron Harmon, who has 21 career starts.