Former Miami Dolphins Player Bob Kuechenberg Dead at 71

Miami Dolphins guard and six-time Pro Bowl selection player, Bob Kuechenberg, has died at age 71.

Kuechenberg's death was confirmed by the team via Twitter, who provided no further details about his passing.

The Gary, Indiana native played at the University of Notre Dame before being drafted in 1969 during the fourth round to the Philadelphia Eagles. He was a driving force on the Super Bowl-winning Dolphins during the 1970s, including his debut with the team during its undefeated season in '72, where he started every game.

Kuechenberg, also lovingly known as "the Kooch," played for the Dolphins until retirement at the age of 37, and was soon regarded as one of the best players of the best offensive lines in NFL history.

The team took to Twitter Sunday morning to share their condolences to Kuechenberg and his family, along with former Dolphins coach, Don Shula.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Bob Kuechenberg," the Dolphins wrote.

Shula called Kuechenberg one of the toughest players he ever coached, telling the Sun Sentinel that he was a "key performer" on their championship team, "leading by example every time he stepped on the field."

"You could count on Kooch to play well and to play hard," Shula said, adding how he was as good as any of the players he coached over the years. "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."

Fans, fellow players and sports commentators took to Twitter to share their favorite moments of Kuechenberg.

The Kooch played in six Pro Bowls and made the list of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton several times, but was never elected.

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Kuechenberg, who got into the field of art collecting soon after his retirement, is survived by family including his older brother, former Bears linebacker Rudy Kuechenberg.

Photo credit: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images