Bob Kuechenberg, part of Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season, dies at 71

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Bob Kuechenberg, an offensive lineman who was a member of the Miami Dolphins of the 1972 perfect season, died Saturday. He was 71.

Kuechenberg was a six-time Pro Bowler in 14 seasons, all with the Dolphins. Along with winning Super Bowl VII as part of Miami’s 17-0 season, he helped the team defend the title with a Super Bowl VIII victory.

“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,” former Dolphins coach Don Shula said in a statement. “He was one of the key performers on our championship teams, leading by example every time he stepped on the field.7

“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 first-team All-Pro honoree in 1978, Kuechenberg played in 196 career games with 176 starts.

Before his pro career, Kuechenberg played at Notre Dame and was a fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969. He never played for Philadelphia and signed with the Dolphins as a free agent the next season.

Kuechenberg declined an invitation to the White House in 2013, when President Barack Obama honored the ’72 Dolphins team. He said it was a political decision based on his views of the Obama administration.