When Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower explained his decision to opt out of playing the 2020 season, he said that having an infant child and a mother with diabetes led him to prioritize their health over getting on the field.
Hightower’s teammate Patrick Chung also opted out this week and his rationale for making that call is very similar to his fellow Patriots defender. Chung appeared on CBS This Morning Wednesday to share this thinking.
“Of course it’s a tough decision,” Chung said, via MassLive.com. “You want to play football. I’m in the latter end of my career, so I wanted to play football. But when it comes down to it, I feel that money is not that important. I have a girlfriend that’s pregnant, a baby girl coming soon, my son has a little asthma, my dad is 75 years old. I just felt like this was the best decision for my family to keep everyone safe. I don’t think it’s fair to them. So I decided to do that. It’s not over. It’s just postponed a little bit.”
Chung said he had a short call with head coach Bill Belichick to let him know his plans and that Belichick is “a very caring person” who understood why Chung made that choice. The safety’s contract for 2020 will toll, which leaves him on track to make $1.1 million for the 2021 season.