San Diego running back Chuck Muncie, who was barred from the National Football League last September after failing a drug test, met with Commissioner Pete Rozelle in New York on Monday and likely will be notified within two weeks whether he can return to the NFL as an active player, it has been learned.
League spokesman Joe Browne confirmed yesterday that Muncie and his attorney, Keith Kleven of Los Angeles, met with Rozelle for several hours at league headquarters. "We've been reviewing the situation all spring," Browne said, "and the meeting was part of that review."
Rozelle is vacationing and was unavailable to comment. Kleven did not return calls to his office.
Muncie, 32, has had drug-related problems several times during his nine-year NFL career. He was traded to the Chargers from New Orleans in 1980 in the midst of a controversy over cocaine use. In 1982, he entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
Then, last September, he had a dispute with San Diego Coach Don Coryell over why he missed a team plane to Seattle. Muncie claimed he offered to take a urinalysis, but that team officials told him it wasn't necessary. A Chargers official said, however, that Muncie had been asked to take the test but refused. One week later, San Diego traded Muncie to Miami, where he failed his physical. The trade for the running back, who twice has rushed more than 1,000 yards in a season, was nullified and Muncie's rights still belong to San Diego. As he left Miami, he said that traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, had been discovered.
At the time, he said, "I am a little disappointed, but I have a lot more football to play. So, no problem."
However, Rozelle responded with a statement that said, in part: "Muncie will be ineligible to play with any team in the NFL until successful completion of any prescribed treatment (following drug evaluation). His failure to report for the evaluation, or to comply with any recommended treatment, will result in immediate suspension by this office."