Tag Archives: drugs in sports

McCants, Keith (1968-2021)

Action Packed Rookies 1990, #60

CARD: Action Packed Rookies 1990
ACQUIRED: Ebay, 2022
FAILURE: TTM C/o Home, 2018, 2020


  • Alabama’s very own homegrown product played LB two years for the Crimson Tide in 88 and 89.
  • Highly regarded specimen coming out, finished with 156 solo tackles (216 total), 2 interceptions, 6 sacks, and a fumble recovery over college career.
  • Selected #4 overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Converted to DE in 1991, posting 54 tackles and 5 sacks that year.
  • Almost duplicated those numbers again in ’92, with 58 tackles and 5 sacks.
  • Converted back again to LB in ’93, but was cut and later signed by the Houston Oilers.
  • Used as a hybrid tweener DE/LB by Oilers.
  • After about a season and a half in Houston, signed with the Cardinals as a free agent during the ’94 campaign.
  • Recorded first career TD, intercepting a Steve Walsh (CHI) pass and returning it 46 yards.
  • Played one final season in Arizona, in 95, but not before recovering a fumble for a TD for second career defensive TD.
  • Loved scuba so much, that after playing career ended, broke barriers by becoming the first black marine conservation officer.
  • After that was extremely rough. Battled drug addictions, starting with painkillers in playing days, and advancing to more hard stuff after career had ended when those weren’t available.
  • Battled homelessness, financial destitution and attempted to commit suicide in jail.
  • Still managed to emerge from trauma, and by 2015 had written a book about his playing time and even started working as an afternoon sports radio personality in Tampa.


Perhaps the direst of set needs, when this autograph of his showed up on EBay alongside a host of other Bucs autos from the same vendor, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.

Over the years, Keith had some amazing cards. He was there for the big boom, and had some great ones from 1989’s Pro Set entry to Game Day 1992.

Of small note, Keith was one of the more recognizable players on the Oilers, who got into the middle of and broke up the fight between Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride.

One that just got away…

I mean, really what can I say about Keith? Don’t do drugs just somehow rings hollow- like both sarcastically and in a sense that it just doesn’t do enough justice to fix the problem…. You know like, “Thoughts and prayers.” -Especially when it comes to things like painkillers and prescription over the counter drugs.

I wrote to Keith and failed in 2018. Afterwards I was told he was on Facebook, so I reached out and started having conversations over the next few months with him supposedly on Facebook. I sent him an updated Facebook header and then he’d send me chain letter links and scriptures, but beyond that we didn’t get anywhere on autographs. Sometimes he’d initiate conversations. I unfortunately wondered even then if it was just a byproduct of a bender or something he was struggling with. Strangely it abruptly stopped right after I announced my father’s passing, however I wonder if that was just coincidental.

I was happy to know later that he was doing better, and had recently, with the help of a good samaritan, gotten his hip successfully replaced.

Unfortunately those demons of drug abuse again came to roost. Maybe he was a functioning addict. Who knows when or where it all started up again or if he was truly clean for the umpteenth time? All of that doesn’t matter.

All those dreams… All those memories…

He died of a drug overdose on September 2nd, 2021. -He was just 53.


Muncie, Chuck

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: Ebay, 2020

The 3rd overall pick of the 1976 draft by the New Orleans Saints, Chuck Muncie had a banner year in 1975 at Cal, rushing for 1460 yards on 228 carries, and 13 TDs. He also caught 39 passes for 392 yards and 2 TDs- and finished second in Heisman voting that year.

A hefty powerback much like Earl Campbell, the Saints stuck Muncie at fullback pairing him with Tony Galbraith. Muncie had a respectable rookie season posting 659 yards on 149 carries. His best season for the Saints came in 1979. It’d be a banner year- as he’d be the first player in franchise history to post a 1,000 yard season, start in the Pro Bowl, and earn Pro Bowl MVP honors. Chuck charged ahead rushing for 1198 yards on 238 carries, and a franchise record (at the time) 11 TDs rushing, along with 40 receptions for 308 yards.

Chuck was traded in 1980 to the San Diego Chargers, where he’d pay quick dividends as the team’s leading rusher- but the specter of drugs was not far behind. He was a perfect fit for the ‘Air Coryell’ offense, and earned back to back Pro Bowl berths in 1981 and 1982. In 81 Muncie rushed for a league record 19 TDs at the time, on 251 carries (1144) yards, while posting a career high 43 receptions. But by 83- the stories were circulating of his cocaine abuse.

“I was spiraling downhill.”

-Chuck Muncie

In 1984, unable to depend on Muncie any longer, the Chargers traded Chuck to Miami, where he famously failed a subsequent drug test due to cocaine. Despite entering rehab, the league took a zero tolerance stance and banned him indefinitely. He’d be reinstated for 1985 and quickly traded to Minnesota, where he quickly retired wanting to try to make reclaiming his life from drugs a priority.

Unfortunately that was not rock bottom for Chuck. After a bout of homelessness, Muncie spent time in prison for distribution. It was there, Chuck turned his life around, as he credits prison for saving his life. He became a speaker, did volunteer work, and built a youth foundation in his name. He worked hard at donating time, money, and his fundraising skills, towards noble causes.

A true redemption story, Chuck passed away of a heart attack in 2013. He was only 60 years old.

Chuck Muncie seemed like a random selection to be inserted into what is considered one of the best of the best collections of NFL greats ever, but if not for a career maligned by drug abuse, you have to wonder where Chuck would’ve stood at the end of the day.