Chung happy to be back in any capacity

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Chung happy to be back in any capacity

FOXBORO -- Pat Chung is in his fourth season with the Patriots. This year will be the third where he won't play 16 games; he hasn't since 2009. 
Thursday night's Thanksgiving tilt against the Jets marked another return for Chung, this time from hamstring and shoulder injuries. He was most recently unavailable for four games between October 21 to November 18.  
Though Chung hated to miss field time, he says he's stayed sharp all the while.
"You can be on the sideline taking mental reps. If you know what you're doing, you can play. Everybody's big, fast, and strong, but you can make the play if you know what you're doing."
Chung went as far as to say those mental reps are more important than the physical. Still, his relief to be back was obvious via the huge grin he gave when asked about the Jets game. 
"It felt good. It felt good to get back out there and dig my cleats in the grass a little bit," the safety smiled. "But we've got five more games, and hopefully a lot more, and we've just got to transition." 
It will be interesting to see where Chung fits in. 
He played 22 of 72 defensive snaps against New York last week, with the Patriots keeping converted cornerback Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory as starting safeties. 
It's undeniable McCourty is better at the backend of the secondary. And with the addition of playmaking corner Aqib Talib, it's even more likely McCourty will stay put. Meanwhile, Gregory had his best game of the season two weeks ago against Indianapolis, intercepting a pass, forcing a fumble and recovering two (one he returned for a touchdown). 
Chung said he'll play wherever the coaches tell him to. Unfortunately for him, that might mean playing in nickel packages instead of starting at safety. Either way, to get more opportunities it would probably help to adopt the defense's penchant for forcing turnovers. 
New England is crushing the competition in takeaways with 32 (14 interceptions, 18 fumbles).
"It's just hard work and hustle. Just finishing the play. You could be on the other side of the field you never know, if you just run to the ball you might get a fumble recovery or a forced fumble. Always give a relentless effort."
Staying healthy would be a good start. 

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