For­mer Dol­phins Pro Bowl guard Bob Kuechen­berg dies at 71.

Houston Chronicle - - SPORTS -

MI­AMI — For­mer Mi­ami Dol­phins guard Bob Kuechen­berg, a six-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion and mem­ber of the only NFL team to achieve a per­fect sea­son, died Satur­day. He was 71.

His death was con­firmed by the NFL team, which had no fur­ther de­tails.

Kuechen­berg joined the Dol­phins as a free agent in 1970 — coach Don Shula's first sea­son — and played for them un­til 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.

Kuechen­berg was a fi­nal­ist for the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame and a mem­ber of the Dol­phins' Honor Roll.

“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,” Shula said in a state­ment. “He was one of the key per­form­ers on our cham­pi­onship teams.”

Shula said Kuechen­berg played with a bro­ken arm in the 1974 Su­per Bowl and still dom­i­nated Hall of Fame de­fen­sive tackle

Alan Page as Mi­ami beat Min­nesota 24-7. That game was 45 years ago and was played at Rice Sta­dium. For­mer team­mate Jim

Langer, a Hall of Fame cen­ter, said he stayed in touch with Kuechen­berg, spoke with him in the past week and was shocked to learn of his death.

“He was the kind of guy you'd want in your fox­hole,” Langer said. “He played hard and was very in­tense about the game, which was typ­i­cal of our team. He was my room­mate for 10 years, and we talked foot­ball damn near all the time.”

Kuechen­berg, a na­tive of Gary, Ind., played at Notre Dame be­fore be­ing drafted by the Philadel­phia Ea­gles in 1969 but never played for them. Kuechen­berg's 196 games with the Dol­phins was a team record un­til Dan

Marino broke it.

Ur­sula See­man / Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Mi­ami Dol­phins guard Bob Kuechen­berg, who died Satur­day, broke his arm in De­cem­ber 1973 but still turned in an out­stand­ing per­for­mance in a Su­per Bowl win over Min­nesota at Rice Sta­dium weeks later.

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