In recent months, the San Diego Chargers have been saddened by the loss of some of their all-time greats. The list of players includes Chuck Muncie, Deacon Jones, Pat Shea, Dave Kocourek and Dave Costa.
Chuck Muncie played four-plus seasons in San Diego after the team acquired him from the New Orleans Saints in 1980. He appeared in 51 games and rushed for 3,309 yards and 43 touchdowns, becoming a two-time All Pro and Pro Bowl selection during that span. Muncie’s best statistical season came in 1981 when he ran for 1,144 yards and 19 touchdowns, which tied a then-NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season. One of the 50 greatest Chargers of All Time, Muncie ranks second in team history to LaDainian Tomlinson for career rushing touchdowns and touchdowns in a season. Over his complete nine year career, he carried the ball 1,561 times for 6,702 yards and 71 TDs. He passed away on May 13th.
“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 via a 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.”
A football legend, Deacon Jones passed away on June 3rd. Regarded as the man who coined the term “quarterback sack,” Jones joined the Bolts in 1972 via trade and was immediately named defensive captain. He was a pro bowler his first year in San Diego when he amassed an unofficial six sacks. Jones played just two seasons for the Chargers, but he made a lasting impression.
“Although he was only with us a short time, Deacon Jones’ iconic presence was another exciting chapter in Chargers history,” the team said. “He brought immediate leadership to the team as well as a Pro Bowl season his first year in San Diego that was matched only by his smile and bigger-than-life personality. We are proud to have had Deacon wear Chargers lightning bolts.”
Pat Shea was a San Diego native who played from 1962-65 at guard. He appeared in 41 games for the Chargers. Shea passed away at the age of 73 on May 22nd.
Dave Kocourek was an elite tight end for the Bolts from 1960-65. He was an AFL all-star from 1961-64 and is a second-team member of the All-Time All-AFL team. Kocourek was also a key cog of the 1963 AFL champion Chargers team. He passed away on April 25th at the age of 75.
Dave Costa was a defensive lineman for the Chargers from 1972-73. For his career he played 168 games with 70 starts. Costa passed away at the age of 71 on May 24th.