Bob Kuechenberg; six-time Pro Bowl guard for Dol­phins

Woonsocket Call - - REGION/OBITUARIES -

MI­AMI (AP) — 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 at age 71.

His death Satur­day was con­firmed by the Dol­phins, who 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 Sun­day.

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.”

A na­tive of Gary, In­di­ana, Kuechenberg 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.

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