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Anthony Munoz: 1958—: Former Professional Football Player

Joined Cincinnati Bengals

Munoz signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1980, using the money from his first pro contract to buy his mother a house. He played with the team for 13 years, and he and his wife and children settled in Ellenwood, a suburb of Cincinnati. When Munoz began playing professional football, most of the defensive ends in the game weighed about 250 pounds. At six-foot six inches tall and weighing 285 pounds, Munoz often flattened opponents 15 or 20 times during a game. Over the years football players got bigger, but Munoz still drove five or six opponents off their feet in each game. In addition to his strength, Munoz was noted for his balance. Even when opponents changed direction, Munoz rarely fell down. Bengal offensive line coach Jim McNally told Sports Illustrated, "Anthony always makes the right adjustment." Houston Oiler defensive end William Fuller told Sports Illustrated, "He has the best feet of any tackle I've gone against. Because he has such good hand-foot coordination, you never catch him out of position."

Although Munoz was naturally large and powerful, he did not spend a lot of time in the weight room, nor did he take drugs or use steroids to increase his bulk or strength. He ran two or three miles a day in the off-season, and lifted weights three times a week. Munoz was noted for his refusal to curse or swear, and was customarily quiet on the playing field. Buffalo Bills' defensive end Bruce Smith told Sports Illustrated that the most he had ever heard Munoz say during play was two words: "I think it was after he stuck his hand in my face mask," Smith recalled. "He said, 'I'm sorry.'" During stressful plays Munoz never wasted energy getting angry, preferring to focus energy on improving his playing.

In the Denver Post, Adam Schefter quoted Bengals' defensive end Alfred Williams, who praised Munoz's work ethic: "When practice started, I'd see him running a mile to get warmed up. Then he'd come back and do the conditioning afterward with everyone else. He was amazing to watch." Munoz's wife, DeDe, told SI's Greenberg, "I don't see any contrast between what he does and the way he is. Ever watch him? It's an artistic way of playing the offensive line. He makes it look easy."

Munoz has also spent a great deal of time working with people who have handicaps, as well as helping under-privileged children and speaking to teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. In 1990 Sports Illustrated noted, "Since coming to the NFL in 1980, Munoz has begrudged every inch of ground he has given up to the league's best pass rushers, yet he has given tirelessly of himself to God, family, and community."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) BiographyAnthony Munoz: 1958—: Former Professional Football Player Biography - A Young Athlete, Joined Cincinnati Bengals, Retired From The Nfl