Chuck Muncie Dies From Heart Attack; Former NFL Player Struggled With Drug Abuse
By Staff Writer | May 14, 2013 01:57 PM EDT
Chuck Muncie, the former NFL player whose career was cut short due to drug abuse, died yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 60. The heart attack announcement was made by the New Orleans Saints, who Muncie played for from 1976-80. Chuck Muncie also played for the San Diego Chargers from 1980-84. He rushed for 6,702 yards and 71 touchdowns, but his career ended in 1984, when Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended Muncie for the remainder of the season when he tested positive for cocaine after the first regular-season game.
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Muncie attempted to comeback the following year with the Minnesota Vikings, but left mid-season by claiming he needed to address personal issues. He was arrested for selling cocaine in 1989 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, but turned his life around afterwards. Muncie devoted his time afterwards working with children and adult addicts, while also counseling gang members to get out of the life. He also worked with athletes at his alma mater, the University of California.
"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 also established the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation, a nonprofit established in 1997, counseled youngsters and offered alternatives to gangs. It also paid for a tattoo-removal program for gang members. In previous interviews, he acknowleged his drug-fueled past and said it made him the person he is today.
"Everything I did and everything I went through in my life has allowed me to do the things I'm doing now. I've been able to tell these guys, 'Been there, done that, and if you keep doing these things, this is what's going to happen.'"
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