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Second time's a charm for Patrick Chung

In 2012, safety Patrick Chung left the New England Patriots for the Philadelphia Eagles -- but that part of his career became one to forget. He was released after one season in Philadelphia.

Chung then received a second chance with New England, where he had spent the first four seasons of his career. Throughout training camp, there were questions of whether Chung could play a role on defense or even make the team.

Fast-forward to a 7-2 start by the Patriots, and Chung has solidified his role as the starting safety next to Devin McCourty, a role that seemed so distant when Chung's time in Philadelphia came to an abrupt end.

Head coach Bill Belichick discussed the team's parting with Chung after the 2012 season.

"I think [Chung] played pretty well for us in the time that he was here," Belichick said during a conference call on Tuesday. "I think some of the circumstance of the '12 season didn't work out as well as we all hoped, for a combination of reasons. Pat and I talked about that last year after he was released from Philadelphia. Pat and I talked about that. We had a long conversation about a lot of things. I don't think it was anybody's fault. It was just one of those things that didn't work out."

Then the door re-opened for Chung to make his mark with the Patriots once again.

"We both felt that we would want to try to give it another shot and we were able to come to an agreement on that contractually, and I think he has done a real good job for us," Belichick said. "He's filled a lot of different roles. He's played well, helped us in the kicking game, helped us defensively in a number of areas. He's been around the ball, productive."

The Chung from his first stint with New England had his moments, but the 2014 version of Chung looks like a different player. Belichick attributes his success to experience.

"He has experience, so even though he is a new player, he was here for four years so in a way he has a lot of experience in our system," Belichick said. "It's worked out really well. From my end of it, I feel great about having him on the team and what he has done for us."

Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia also noted maturity helped Chung's emergence this season.

"I think there is a level of maturity that is going to take place over the course of your NFL career and each season you get a little bit wiser, a little smarter, a little more in-tune to the NFL game," Patricia said. "Certainly Pat with a couple more years of experience has benefited from some of that and learned from his experience, as well from being in a different system. He can apply some of those things that he learned there into what we do."

Chung's dedication to re-acclimating himself with the Patriots' defensive system and physical style of play are standing out this season.

"I think Pat had come in and tried really well to fit into the different things that we have asked him to do defensively and he's really tried to relearn the system and the new things we have added," Patricia said. "I think he does a great job of playing a real physical style of football. I rely on him to be able to handle situations that come up in the game where he might be involved in different aspects of the defense and communication and things like that."

For Chung, hard work and experience have been keys to his success, and his coaches are fully aware of it.

"He's really come to work every day to try and do his job to the best of his ability and I think that's been the best thing so far," Patricia said.