Chris Mims, a starting defensive end on San Diego's only Super Bowl team, was found dead Wednesday in his downtown Los Angeles apartment.
Mims, 38, was discovered by police around 9:30 a.m. at his residence in the 600 block of S. Flower Street.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play. The coroner's office did not give an immediate cause of death, pending an autopsy and toxicology report.
A first-round draft pick of the Chargers in 1992, Mims was a standout at Dorsey High and in junior college at Pierce, Harbor and Southwest before transferring to Tennessee.
He showed a lot of promise early in his career, collecting 11 sacks in the 1994 season when San Diego won the AFC championship and played San Francisco in the Super Bowl. He had just two sacks the next season, however, and ran afoul of coaches when he missed meetings and had several off-the-field problems. Among his legal troubles over the years were charges of assault, vandalism, and driving under the influence.
But some former San Diego players say Mims, who played at 300 pounds or heavier, was a well-liked member of the team.
"He was never a problem for the team," former Chargers linebacker Gary Plummer said. "He was just a happy-go-lucky guy. Coaches don't always like a defensive player who's jovial and laughing all the time. They want somebody who's going to go out and rip someone's head off. That wasn't Chris."
Mims spent five seasons with San Diego, then played one season for the Washington Redskins before returning to the Chargers for the 1998 and '99 seasons. His career ended in 2000, when he was cut in training camp by Chicago after missing a practice because he overslept.
"When I first got [to San Diego] I was good for the situation. When I came back [in 1998] I wasn't good for the situation," he told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. "I don't think the coaching staff was comfortable with me and I wasn't with them. I wasn't mad; I was relieved. I was just sitting on the fence and waiting for something to knock me off."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.