Former Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg died Saturday at age 71, the NFL team confirmed in an online statement on Sunday morning.
According to the Associated Press, there were no further details immediately made available about Kuechenberg’s death.
Kuechenberg was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of the Dolphin’s Honor Roll.
The former athlete, who was also known by the nickname “Kooch,” was a member of what many have called one of the best offensive lines in the history of the NFL, reported the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
He joined the Dolphins in 1970 and played for the franchise until 1983 — retiring at the age of 37. He started every game in 1972 when the team went 17-0, the Sun Sentinel reported. The next year, he started 16 games, with the team taking home the Super Bowl championship.
“He was one of the key performers on our championship team, leading by example every time he stepped on the field,” Don Shula, former Dolphins coach and Hall of Famer said in an online statement. “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 victory over the Vikings. You could always count on Kooch to play well and to play hard.”
“Kooch, along with Larry Little and Jim Langer, were the three biggest reasons for my development and many others as better players,” Bob Baumhower, former defensive tackle for the Dolphins, said in another statement shared by the team. “They were absolutely the best interior offensive line in the NFL. Kooch was a tough, talented and smart leader… He made all of us better through his passion and ability to play the game AND HUMOR.”
RELATED VIDEO: NFL Player Turned Astronaut Leland Melvin Shares His ‘Love Affair’ with Earth in Nat Geo Doc
Echoed former Dolphin Jim Langer, “Bob was my roommate for 10 years. He was like a brother. You always hear about what kind of man you want to have next to you in the foxhole and it was Kooch.”
He added in the statement, “We thought a lot alike. We got along great. He worked really hard. No one worked harder than Kooch.”
He is survived by his older brother, former Bears linebacker Rudy Kuechenberg.