Chuck Muncie, former Cal and NFL star dead at 60

  • FILE - In this Sept. 30, 1979, file photo, New Orleans Saints running back Chuck Muncie (42) breaks a tackle by New York Giants safety Beasley Reece and heads for the end zone to score a touchdown during an NFL football game at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints announced Tuesday, May 14, 2013, that Muncie, a Pro Bowl running back with both the Saints and San Diego Chargers, has died. He was 60. (AP Photo/File

Former Cal teammate Steve Bartkowski called Chuck Muncie "the most talented athlete I've ever been on the football field with." Muncie, one of the greatest running backs in Cal history and a three-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL, died Monday of a heart attack. He was 60.

Muncie was a consensus first-team All-America and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy for Cal in 1975, then was the third overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He rushed for 6,702 yards and scored 74 total touchdowns during his pro career, much of it spent with the San Diego Chargers.

Muncie's off-field issues often overshadowed his abilities as a versatile big back with great pass-catching skills. He was suspended for the 1984 NFL season after testing positive for cocaine and later spent 18 months in prison for selling cocaine.

Bartkowski, who played quarterback for 12 seasons in the NFL, called Muncie "one of the most likable, nicest guys I've ever been around, which I think was his downfall.

"It was a strength that really became a weakness. I don't think he ever met a stranger." Muncie got his life back in order after his NFL career ended and established the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation, which counseled young people and gang members on decision-making.

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