Former Dolphins star Bob Kuechenberg dies at 71

Former Dolphins star Bob Kuechenberg dies at 71

Bob Kuechenberg, a key member of the Miami Dolphins’ perfect 1972 season, died Saturday.

The Dolphins confirmed the death but did not provide details.

The guard was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and an anchor of the offensive line that helped the Dolphins finish 17-0 in 1972. They remain the only NFL team to complete an entire season undefeated. Miami won the Super Bowl that year over the Cowboys, and the following year beat the Redskins in the Super Bowl.

Drafted out of Notre Dame by the Eagles, Kuechenberg joined the Dolphins in 1970, coach Don Shula’s first season in Miami, and played 14 seasons there before retiring in 1984 (he spent the ’84 season on IR).

“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 (via ESPN). “He was one of the key performers on our championship teams, leading by example every time he stepped on the field.

“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 linemen, and Kooch was as good as any of them. I hope one day he gets that ultimate recognition by being enshrined in Canton — it’s an honor long overdue and one he certainly deserves.”

A two-time All-Pro, Kuechenberg was a finalist eight times for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the early 2000s but fell short each time.