Perhaps it's fitting that on Throwback Thursday the Patriots reached to their past for their latest free agent signing.
Safety Patrick Chung signed with the Patriots after the Eagles let him go after just one season in Philadelphia. Terms of Chung's deal are unknown at this time.
"I'm glad to be back. It's like family here," Chung said via conference call Thursday afternoon. "It feels like home. I love the fans, I love the coaches, I love the environment, I love the city so, it's like a blessing."
Chung is one of several disappointing second-round picks for New England over the past several years, joining the likes of Darius Butler, Ron Brace, Terrance Wheatley, Jermaine Cunningham and Ras-I Dowling. He was selected with the first of four second-rounders back in 2009 (only Sebastian Vollmer remained in 2013) and played in 50 games for the Patriots with 30 starts. Injuries kept him off the field frequently as the 5-11, 207-pound safety plays with a reckless, physical style that his smaller frame can't seem to handle. He missed 14 games during his four years in New England.
He appeared in just 12 games last year with the Eagles, starting 10, and soon found himself out of work after signing a three-year, $10 million deal with Philadelphia. He finished with 43 tackles, three passes defensed and a fumble recovery in 2013.
"I can't really tell you why things didn't work out in Philly," Chung said. "But now that this is happening I feel it's a better fit here. I know the system, I know the coaches and it's a good environment. I'm back in the city that gave me a chance. I feel like it's home."
With Steve Gregory released, Chung will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on a safety depth chart that is rather thin at the moment. Devin McCourty is the lone sure starter with second-year man Duron Harmon the only other player with significant experience on defense at the position. The rest are largely special teamers including Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner and Kanorris Davis. Veteran Adrian Wilson will not likely be part of the mix in 2014 after spending last season on injured reserve.
Chung would seem to provide a better alternative on defense but will likely be in a battle to secure a roster spot.
"I have no expectations," Chung said when asked about his potential role. "Whatever Bill [Belichick] needs me to do to help the team win I'm OK with it. Whatever my role is I'm good. I'm not worried about any distractions."