CHUCK MUNCIE, a Pro Bowl running back with both the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers, has died at age 60, the NFL clubs and a family spokesman said yesterday.
Muncie family spokesman Vintage Foster, of AMF Media Group in San Ramon, Calif., said Muncie died at his Los Angeles-area home on Monday from heart failure.
Muncie was the Saints' first-round pick, third overall, out of California in 1976. He played 4 1/2 seasons in New Orleans before being traded in 1980 to San Diego, where he finished his 9-year NFL career. In 1979, Muncie became the first Saint to rush for 1,000 yards, finishing with 1,198 and 11 touchdowns, and his 1,506 total yards from scrimmage earned him the first of his three Pro Bowl selections.
The 6-3 Muncie, who played at 227 pounds, and fellow Saints running back Tony Galbreath formed what then-coach Hank Stram dubbed the "Thunder and Lightning" combination in the New Orleans backfield. Muncie's photo is among those featured on the Saints' Hall of Honor inside the club's training facility.
Muncie was traded by the Saints at midseason in 1980 to San Diego, where he played 51 games and was named to Pro Bowl rosters two more times, in 1981 and '82. In 2009, the club recognized him as one of the 50 greatest Chargers of all time.
His accomplishments on the field came despite cocaine use, and in 1989, 5 years after his retirement from pro football, Muncie was sentenced to 18 months in prison for a cocaine distribution conviction.
Thereafter, however, he began sharing his life story with at-risk youth, highlighting his struggles with drug abuse. He created the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation, the mission of which was to offer children mentoring, educational assistance and counseling.
"His work with at-risk youth, the Boys and Girls Clubs and his foundation were the things that really made him shine," Muncie's daughter, Danielle Ward, said in a written statement provided by Foster.
In nine seasons, Muncie finished with 6,702 yards rushing, 2,323 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns.
Richard Young, the father of free-agent receiver Titus Young, told two Detroit newspapers that his son suffers from a mental-health disorder and needs help.
Early Saturday morning, the troubled, 23-year-old Young was arrested for the third time in 6 days, including twice on the same day. Young was arrested and charged with suspicion of burglary, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest after police responded to a 9-1-1 burglary call from a house in San Clemente, Calif.
"His mind is not capable enough to go out and deal with society because of this situation,'' Richard Young told the Detroit News.
He told the Free Press that his son has been prescribed the antidepressant Seroquel, which is used to treat bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.
"I hope they just forgive Titus because this ain't none of Titus, it wasn't none of his fault,'' Richard Young told the Free Press. "I look at my son right now, I don't see my son. That's not my son. I know my son.''