Former All-Pro running back Chuck Muncie has died at the age of 60. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the former San Diego Chargers standout passed away due to a heart attack.
Muncie played nine seasons in the NFL before leaving the game in 1984 after Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended him when he tested positive for cocaine. He only played in one game during the 1984 season and he never returned after he was suspended, though he did try a comeback the following year.
He cited personal issues as to the reason behind his unsuccessful comeback. Though he struggled with off the field issues, Muncie put together a solid career that included three Pro Bowl appearances, one of which he was named the MVP.
His best season came in 1981 when he ran for 1,144 yards and a league-leading 19 touchdowns. Throughout his career, Muncie appeared in 110 games while rushing for 6,702 yards and 71 touchdowns.
After he left the game for good, Chuck Muncie struggled to stay out of trouble and ended up in jail in 1989 with a 18-month sentence for selling cocaine. Muncie did his time and after his release he pledged to turn his life around for good.
He founded the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation in 1997 that provides youngsters in Southern California alternative opportunities to the “street” life. The foundation was only the start, as he eventually joined a mentoring program for athletes at the University of California, his alma mater where he finished second in the Heisman voting as a senior.
His dedication to community service completely changed his life, just as he’d set out to do after going to prison. Nevertheless, his career on the field has always been overshadowed by the suspension that led to his retirement.
Rough times got the best of Muncie near the end of his career in the NFL but he learned from his mistakes and sought to be a better man. Chuck Muncie died of a heart attack on Monday, but not before he turned his life around and made a difference in his community.