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Former San Diego Chargers, Saints star Chuck Muncie dead at 60

  • By NFL.com
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Chuck Muncie, a standout running back with the New Orleans Saints and a three-time Pro Bowl selection, died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 60.

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Chuck Muncie through the years

Take a look at the best photos of Chuck Muncie.

Muncie, whose career was ravaged by drug abuse, was the Saints' third overall selection out of California in the 1976 NFL Draft. He played in the Big Easy from 1976 through the first four games of the 1980 season before being traded to the San Diego Chargers where he played until 1984.

The Saints confirmed Muncie's passing to The Times-Picayune, and the Chargers later confirmed the news.

The 6-foot-3, 227-pounder made a lasting impression with the Saints. He's the team's fifth all-time rushing leader with 3,393 yards. He also was the first Saints player to be selected to a Pro Bowl. Muncie enjoyed his most successful campaign with the Saints in his final season there, rushing for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns, and also catching 40 passes for 308 yards. He earned another Pro Bowl nod that year and was selected Pro Bowl MVP.

Muncie went on to earn two more Pro Bowl nods with the Chargers. His best season with the Chargers came in 1981 when he rushed for 1,144 yards and 19 touchdowns, which tied the then-NFL season record for rushing touchdowns. Muncie etched his name in Chargers lore when he rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown, guiding the Chargers over the Miami Dolphins 41-38, a game simply known as The Epic in Miami. The Chargers went on to lose to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, or the Freezer Bowl.

Most career rushing yards by RBs 6-foot-3 or taller
Player Yards Height Seasons
Eric Dickerson 13,259 6-foot-3 1983-1993
Eddie George 10,441 6-foot-3 1996-2004
Larry Csonka 8,081 6-foot-3 1968-1979
Chuck Muncie 6,702 6-foot-3 1976-1984
Calvin Hill 6,083 6-foot-3 1969-1981

Muncie's career came to a screeching halt in 1984 when Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended him for the remainder of the season after Muncie tested positive for cocaine. Muncie's comeback with the Minnesota Vikings also came to an abrupt end when he quit "to get his life together," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Muncie continued to fall on hard times. He was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling cocaine. He vowed to get his life in order, and he did.

Muncie established the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation in 1997 to help children avoid some of the same pitfalls that derailed his career. The foundation offered a tattoo-removal program, among other things. Muncie also returned to Berkeley and mentored student-athletes at his alma mater.

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