The New Orleans Saints mourn today's passing of former running back Chuck Muncie at the age of 60 years old.
"Sadly, we have learned of the untimely passing of Chuck Muncie," said New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and other loved ones at this difficult time."
The club's first-round draft pick (third overall) in 1976 out of the University of California, Muncie was the club's first franchise running back. By the time his nine-year NFL career with both the Saints and San Diego Chargers had concluded, the California, Pennsylvania native had accumulated career figures of 1,561 carries for 6,702 yards (4.3 avg.) with 71 touchdowns and 263 receptions for 2,323 yards (8.8 avg.) with three touchdowns. In four-and-a-half seasons in Black and Gold, Muncie finished with 788 carries for 3,393 yards with 28 touchdowns, a rushing yardage total that still ranks fifth in club records.
Upon joining the Saints in 1976, Muncie, at 6-3, 227 pounds, a rare mix of size, speed and power, shared carries with Tony Galbreath as a rookie in what would be later categorized as the "Thunder and Lightning" backfield, carrying 149 times for 659 yards with two touchdowns, while also adding 31 catches for 272 yards. In his second career contest, a 27-17 win at Kansas City, Muncie first showed his skill set by carrying 25 times for 126 yards in helping give head coach Hank Stram a win against his former team. In 1977, Muncie combined with Galbreath again, leading the club in rushing with 201 carries for 801 yards with six touchdowns and making 21 grabs for 248 yards (11.8 avg.) with one score.
Muncie increased his workload in 1979 and enjoyed his breakthrough campaign, as he became the first Saint to break the 1,000-yard barrier, carrying 238 times for 1,198 yards (5.0 avg.) with 11 touchdowns and catching 40 balls for 308 yards for 1,506 total yards from scrimmage, as the Saints finished 8-8 for the first time in franchise history, earning United Press International All-NFC second-team honors and his first Pro Bowl selection, as part of an offensive unit that finished ranked fourth in the NFL. Scoring two rushing touchdowns and passing for another, Muncie capped off his season by being voted the MVP of the league's all-star game.
Muncie was traded by the Saints at midseason in 1980 to the San Diego Chargers, where he would appear in 51 more games and be selected to the Pro Bowl two more times. He is a member of the New Orleans Saints' Hall of Honor inside the club's Metairie practice facility. Following his retirement in 1984, he would establish the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation, dedicated to assisting at-risk youth through mentorship, educational assistance and counseling on the West Coast.