MIAMI - Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the only team to achieve a perfect season, has died at age 71.
His death Saturday was confirmed by the Dolphins, who had no immediate details.
Kuechenberg spent his entire NFL career with the Dolphins from 1970 to 1983. He started every game for the team that went 17-0 in 1972, and started 16 games for the team that repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973.
A native of Gary, Indiana, Kuechenberg played at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969. He never played for Philadelphia and signed with the Dolphins as a free agent the next season, coach Don Shula’s first year with the team.
Shula released a statement on Sunday:
I was sorry to learn of the passing of Bob Kuechenberg, who was not only one of the best players I ever coached, but one of the toughest as well. He was one of the key performers on our championship terms, leading by example every time he stepped on the field. That was especially true in Super Bowl VIII, when he dominated Alan Page the entire game despite playing with a broken arm, a performance that was one of the keys to our victory over the Vikings.
You could count on Kooch to play well and to play hard. He performed at a Pro Bowl level throughout his 14 years playing for the Dolphins and mastered the game so well he was called for holding only 15 times over that span. He gave you everything he had every single snap, and that dependability extended throughout his career, missing only a few games during that time.
I’ve coached a lot of Hall of Fame players, including a number of offensive lineman, and Kooch was as good as any of them. I hope one day he get the ultimate recognition by being enshrined in Canton – it’s an honor long overdue and one he certainly deserves.
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