Former Saints, Chargers star Muncie dies

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Updated: 5/14/2013 1:41 pm

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Former NFL star running back Chuck Muncie died Monday. He was 60 years old.

Muncie played for the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers from 1976-84.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints disclosed the news on Tuesday, saying the two-time 1,000-yard rusher died of a heart attack.

Muncie starred collegiately at California and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Archie Griffin in 1975, then was selected by the Saints with the third overall pick of the 1976 NFL Draft.

In 59 games for the Saints, he rushed for 3,393 yards -- still the fifth-best total in franchise history -- and 28 touchdowns. His best season in New Orleans was 1979 when he ran for a career-best 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He was traded to San Diego just four games into the 1980 season and became one of the NFL's most dangerous backs in the Chargers' "Air Coryell" offense of the early 1980s.

Muncie led the NFL with 19 rushing touchdowns in 1981 during his first full season in San Diego. He helped the Chargers to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in 1980 and '81.

"Very sad news of the passing of former Chargers RB Chuck Muncie," the Chargers wrote on the club's Twitter feed. "Our thoughts are with the whole Muncie family."

A cocaine addiction led to the end of his football career in 1984 and he spent 18 months in prison following a conviction for selling the drug in 1989.

After his release, Muncie turned his life around and helped others through the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation.

Muncie finished his NFL career with 6,702 rushing yards and 71 touchdowns. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

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