Former running back Jim Kiick, a member of the ‘perfect’ 1972 Miami Dolphins team, has died at the age of 73.
No cause of death was given but in 2017 it was revealed he had been diagnosed with dementia/early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and was in an assisted living facility in Florida.
Alongside full-back Larry Csonka and fellow running back Mercury Morris, Kiick was part of the greatest backfield in Dolphins history, helping the team to successive Super Bowl wins in 1972 and 1973.
Kiick scored in each of the Dolphins’ Super Bowl triumphs, including the decisive touchdown in a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins at the culmination of the team’s famous unbeaten 1972 campaign.
At the height of their fame, Kiick and Csonka were dubbed the ‘Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid’ of the NFL and attracted huge media attention, including appearing together on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1973. The pair also co-wrote a book, ‘Always On The Run’, in the same year.
Kiick’s daughter Allie, a professional tennis player, revealed in a Twitter post on Thursday that he father’s health was “declining rapidly”, adding that she and her family had been unable to visit him because of coronavirus restrictions.
Writing after news of his death was announced, she said Kiick was “the best dad I could have ever asked for and will forever be a legend and my hero #21”.
Kiick was drafted by the Dolphins in 1968 and played 10 seasons of professional football.
He ran for 3,644 yards and had 2,210 receiving yards with the Dolphins, scoring 31 total touchdowns.
In 1972, the Dolphins finished the season 17-0 to win their first championship and become the first and still only NFL team to finish a season unbeaten in the Super Bowl era. Kiick scored at least once in all three post-season games that season.
After leaving the Dolphins in 1974, Kiick moved to the short-lived World Football League but returned to the NFL to play for the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins before retiring at the end of the 1977 season.
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