Chuck Muncie, a tall, talented NFL running back, died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 60. Muncie played nine years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. At 6-3, 227 pounds, he was a versatile back who could chew up yards with his long stride and was an effective receiver out of the backfield.
With his talent, height and trademark glasses—he was one of the first players to use glasses or goggles—Chuck Muncie always stood out on the field.
He went over the 1,000-yard mark twice—with the Saints in 1979 and the Chargers in 1981, as part of the explosive Air Coryell attack. He also led the NFL with 19 rushing touchdowns in ’81 and rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ epic 41-38 overtime victory over the Dolphins in the divisional playoffs that season.
The third overall pick in the 1976 draft by the Saints, he rushed for 6,702 yards and 71 touchdowns in 110 career games.
Muncie played in only one game in 1984, when he was suspended after testing positive for cocaine. He later was reinstated and traded to the Vikings in 1985, but he never played in another regular-season game.
Muncie was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling cocaine. He eventually turned his life around and worked with children and people who battled drug addiction. He also mentored athletes at Cal, his alma mater.
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