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What Does Patrick Chung's Cocaine Charge Mean For His Future In NFL?

FOXBORO (CBS) – Patriots safety Patrick Chung is facing legal troubles in New Hampshire after he was indicted on a cocaine charge. Potential discipline from the NFL, however, is not expected in the immediate future.

Court documents released on Thursday revealed that Chung was indicted August 8 for a June 25 incident in Meredith. He is scheduled to be arraigned on August 28.

"We will monitor developments in the law enforcement matter," the NFL said Thursday in a statement.

The Patriots issued a similar statement of their own.

"We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung. We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place," the team said.

According to the NFL and NFLPA's collectively bargained drug policy, Chung could face a suspension if found guilty. If Chung is a first-time offender, he would likely face punishment up to four games, according to Section 2.3 of the policy.

Absent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will be a suspension without pay for up to four (4) regular and/or post-season games. If the Commissioner finds that there were aggravating circumstances, including but not limited to felonious conduct or serious injury or death of third parties, and/or if the Player has had prior drug or alcohol related misconduct, increased discipline may be imposed. Discipline for a second or subsequent offense, absent aggravating circumstances, will be a suspension without pay for a minimum of six (6) up to ten (10) regular and/or post-season games.

Patrick Chung
Patrick Chung (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Discipline from the league would likely not be issued until Chung's case concludes. According to a tentative schedule issued by the State of New Hampshire, jury selection could begin in March with an anticipated May trial.

Three recent NFL suspensions show that Chung will likely not be suspended any time soon. Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata and Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers both received suspensions in June for drug-related incidents. Onyemata received one game for a February marijuana possession misdemeanor summons while Gathers was suspended one game for an August 2018 marijuana arrest.

Minnesota Vikings running back Roc Thomas was arrested in January when police found five ounces of marijuana in his apartment. Thomas received a three-game suspension in July after admitting to the charges in May.

Chung has been participating in Patriots training camp practices wearing a red non-contact jersey while he recovers from a broken arm suffered in Super Bowl LIII against the Rams. When the Patriots practiced on Tuesday, Chung was not on the field.

The Patriots play the Carolina Panthers in their third preseason game on Thursday. Before news of Chung's indictment broke, Chung was already not expected to play in the game.

The 10-year veteran, who has played nine seasons with the Patriots, received a one-year extension in April that is worth $6 million.

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