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Former NFL tailback Chuck Muncie dies

New Orleans Saints running back Chuck Muncie (42)

New Orleans Saints running back Chuck Muncie (42) breaks a tackle by Giants safety Beasley Reece and heads for the endzone to score a touchdown in the Superdome in New Orleans. Credit: AP, 1979

Former NFL running back Chuck Muncie, who starred with the Saints and then the Chargers before leaving the NFL in 1985 because of substance abuse problems, has died. Muncie was 60. 

The cause of death was a heart attack, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Muncie was a three-time All-Pro running back who was the Saints' first-round pick (third overall) in 1976. He rushed for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns with New Orleans in 1979, but was traded to the Chargers in 1980 and went on to a strong career in San Diego.

He led the NFL in 1981 with 19 touchdowns, and rushed for 124 yards and a score in the Chargers' 41-38 win over the Dolphins in one of the most exciting playoff games in NFL history. The Chargers lost the following week in sub-zero conditions in Cincinnati, as the Bengals beat San Diego in the AFC Championship Game. 

Muncie was suspended in 1984 by then commissioner Pete Rozelle after he tested positive for cocaine. He attempted a comeback with the Vikings in 1985, but left the league because he indicated he had personal issues to deal with. 

Muncie was sentenced in 1989 to 18 months in prison for selling cocaine. After being released from prison, he worked with at-risk youth and adults struggling with drug addiction.

New York Sports