NFL Hall of Famer middle linebacker, Nick Buoniconti, an undersized overachiever who helped lead the Miami Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect season, has died at the age of 78.
Bruce Bobbins, a spokesman for the Buoniconti family, announced he died Tuesday in Bridgehampton, New York.
A cause of death was not immediately revealed.
Nick was bypassed in the NFL draft but went on to a successful 15-year career. He helped the Dolphins win back-to-back Super Bowls, including the 1972 team that finished 17-0.
Following his retirement, Buoniconti and his son, Marc, raised more than a half-billion dollars in the search for a cure for paralysis.
Marc was paralyzed from the shoulders down making a tackle for The Citadel in 1985.
Nick Buoniconti was chosen for the all-time AFL team in 1970. He was chosen for the NFL Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973.
"He selflessly gave all to football, to his family and to those who are less fortunate," Marc Buoniconti said in his statement. "He made a promise to me that turned into a revolution in paralysis research."
He continued, "We can best honor his dedication and endless commitment by continuing with our work until that promise is fulfilled and a cure is found."
Nick Buoniconti also had a successful post-football career in broadcasting and business, and recently appeared in an HBO documentary on his career.
Buoniconti was outspoken about his belief that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy as a result of hits taken to the head during his long football career.
He previously said he planned on donating his brain to CTE research upon his death.
Our condolences go out to Buoniconti’s family and friends.