HOFer Nick Buoniconti dies at 78

HOFer Nick Buoniconti dies at 78

Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti, an undersized overachiever who helped lead the Miami Dolphins to the NFL's only flawless season, has died at the age of 78.

The Miami Dolphins confirmed the news of the passing.

Along with eight Pro Bowl invitations, Buoniconti was named to the Dolphins' Silver Anniversary All-Time Team and enshrined in the team's honor roll in 1991.

Where do you start with Nick Buoniconti? He lived a life of honor and nobility and his legacy will live forever through his Bronzed Bust in Canton, Ohio. We extend our condolences to his wife Lynn, his daughter Gina, his sons Marc and Nick, and his entire family.

He was taken in the 13th round by the Boston Patriots of the upstart AFL and played for them from 1962 to 1968.

Ahead of the 1969 season, Buoniconti was traded to Miami where he spent seven years and played under and alongside fellow Hall of Famers Don Shula, Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield.

The Notre Dame product tallied 32 interceptions, which stands as the third-most by any linebacker in National Football League history. "He was a Hall of Fame player on the field, but more importantly, a hall of fame person off it".

In his later years, Mr. Buoniconti believed that he had been irreparably damaged by head injuries he sustained from collisions in his playing days, and he pledged to donate his brain and spinal cord for research.

Nick famously launched The Buoniconti Fund after his son, Marc, became paralyzed during a college football game in 1985.

Nick Buoniconti also had a successful post-football career in broadcasting and business. "Nick will be remembered as a champion on and off the field".

The 1972 Dolphins are the last National Football League team to go undefeated, finishing the regular season and playoffs with a 17-0 record. He also co-founded The Buoniconti Fund, which works to cure paralysis.

In Miami, Buoniconti became one of the leaders of the vaunted "No-Name Defense".

After his playing career, Mr. Buoniconti served as a player agent and president of US Tobacco. He was later a co-host of HBO's Inside the National Football League and even later was the subject of HBO's The Many Lives of Nick Buoniconti, a documentary focusing on his storied playing career, as well as his struggles with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the tragic paralysis of his son Marc Buoniconti. I always loved [the game].

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