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Chuck Muncie dies, leaves legacy as NFL star who fought drug abuse

Chuck Muncie dies: A former NFL running back, Chuck Muncie went to jail for selling cocaine. But later, Chuck Muncie helped at-risk kids with his story of drug abuse. "His most impressive work was done in the second chapter of his life," says his former wife.

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"He was a star on the football field but his most impressive work was done in the second chapter of his life where he lived his life with great transparency," added Muncie's former wife, Robyn Hood. "He simply wanted others to learn from his mistakes. He carried that message with him everywhere he went. And as a result, he changed the lives of hundreds of kids. He made a difference."

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Muncie's 43 touchdowns for San Diego, and 19 touchdowns in a single season, both rank second in Chargers history, eclipsed only by LaDainian Tomlinson.

"Everyone at the Chargers is deeply saddened by the passing of Chuck Muncie, one of the greatest running backs in Chargers history," the team said in a written statement. "We will remember him as a tremendous athlete with a larger-than-life personality. It's a sad day for all of us and all Chargers fans."

In nine seasons, Muncie finished with 6,702 yards rushing, 2,323 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns.

Ken Trahan, general manager of the Saints Hall of Fame, said Muncie was probably the most talented runner New Orleans ever had.

"Once he got the corner, to see that guy get north and south with that speed for his size was frightening," Trahan said. "Chuck could lower his shoulder and run over people, run through people as well as just run away from them."

Muncie has been nominated for the Saints Hall of Fame, which is run independently from the club, but has not been enshrined as Galbreath has. Part of the reason, Trahan said, is because members of the Hall's selection panel say the drug use that coincided with the Saints' decision to trade him also was detrimental to the club, which went 1-15 the season he left.

"Clearly he had some issues off the field and he ended up paying a price for that," Trahan said, alluding both to the damage to his reputation and his jail time. "The beauty of that is he really overcame that, grew up and became a much better person."

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AP Sports Writers Bernie Wilson in San Diego and Josh Dubow in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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