Patriots safety Patrick Chung has been indicted by a New Hampshire grand jury on a cocaine possession charge (via the Laconia (N.H.) Daily Sun).
The Belknap County grand jury handed up the indictment against Chung, who turned 32 on Monday, among several others from its latest session. The alleged offense — that he “knowingly possessed cocaine” — happened in late June in Meredith, New Hampshire, according to WCVB.com. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Possession of cocaine is a Class B felony in New Hampshire and carries a fine of up to $2,000 and a potential prison term of up to seven years.
The Daily Sun’s report notes that “(a)n indictment is not an indication of guilt. Rather it is a finding that enough evidence of an alleged crime exists to warrant bringing the matter to trial.”
According to Yahoo Sports, Chung has a residence in Meredith, about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Foxborough, Massachusetts, where the Patriots are headquartered.
If he is found guilty of the charge, he would face disciplinary action from the NFL, based on the league’s drug policy.
The Patriots issued a statement early Thursday afternoon: “We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung. We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place.”
The league said in a statement that it would “monitor developments in the law enforcement matter.”
If/when Patrick Chung is found to have violated the law in relation to drugs, then he can be suspended up to 4 games if he’s a first-time offender under NFL policy.
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) August 22, 2019
A team captain, Chung was not at practice Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported. The Patriots face the Panthers at home Thursday in Week 3 of the NFL preseason.
The team’s starting strong safety, Chung has been wearing a red non-contact jersey in training camp as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. He suffered a broken arm in the third quarter of Super Bowl 53.
Taken by New England in the second round of the 2009 draft, Chung, who has played for the Patriots for nine of his 10 NFL seasons, has been part of four Super Bowl teams and three championship victories over the past five seasons. He spent the 2013 season with the Eagles.
He has 723 combined tackles and 11 interceptions in his NFL career.
Chung signed a three-year, $11.7 million contract with the Patriots this offseason (per Spotrac.com), including a $4 million signing bonus, $5.1 million guaranteed and an average annual value of $3.9 million.