Before he turned 50, former Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive tackle Chuck Klingbeil told a U.S. judge he had been using narcotics for more than 30 years.
Klingbeil was being arraigned on drug charges. His legal issues also included larceny charges, because he had been caught stealing and selling manhole covers.
I remembered some of those things and researched them Tuesday after hearing that Klingbeil had died at age 52 from an apparent heart condition, according to an American publication.
Klingbeil’s two-year CFL career started in 1989, a season he capped with being named the outstanding defensive player in Saskatchewan’s Grey Cup victory. He subsequently played five seasons with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins before a shoulder injury forced him to retire and return home to Michigan, where he served as a university football coach.
I remember Klingbeil being one of the Roughriders’ hardest workers, following the lead of his good friend and future Canadian Football Hall of Famer Bobby Jurasin. A respectable, friendly guy, Klingbeil was easy to cheer for during his short playing career and his too-short life.