Former running back Chuck Muncie, a three-time All-Pro has died at the age of 60 from a heart attack.
A star at Cal, Muncie finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior, then was the third overall pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 1976 NFL Draft.
He was traded to the San Diego Chargers during the 1980 season. In 1981, he scored a league-leading 19 touchdowns.
“Everyone at the Chargers is deeply saddened by the passing of Chuck Muncie, one of the greatest running backs in Chargers history,” the team said in a statement. “We will remember him as a tremendous athlete with a larger-than-life personality. It’s a sad day for all of us and all Chargers fans.”
In nine seasons, Muncie rushed for 6,702 yards and 71 touchdowns. In 2009, he was chosen as one of the 50 greatest Chargers of All Time.
His career ended in 1984 when he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for the rest of that season following a positive test for cocaine after the first regular-season game.
A comeback attempt in 1985 with the Minnesota Vikings ended when he quit, saying he had to get his personal life in order.
Drug problems followed him after he retired. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1989 for selling cocaine, but it changed his life. In his later years, Muncie worked with children, counseled adults who struggled with addiction, and encouraged gang members to lead more productive lives.
He established The Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation in 1997 to counsel youths and offer alternatives to gangs, which included paying for a tattoo-removal program for gang members.
Muncie also mentored athletes at his alma mater.
“Whenever we call, he makes himself available,” Dr. Bill Coysh, director of sports medicine for the Cal athletic department, told the Los Angeles Times in 2002. “That’s what’s incredible about him. This is not a paid position. He does it because that’s how he is.”
Muncie rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown in one of the NFL’s most memorable games — the Chargers’ 31-28 postseason victory over the Miami Dolphins in 1981.