Miami Dolphins legend Jim Kiick passes away at 73

Miami Dolphins helmet during game against Washington Football Team
Oct 13, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins helmet is seen on the field before a game against the Washington Redskins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins and the NFL world received heartbreaking news on Saturday, learning that former All-Star running back Jim Kiick passed away.

Former Miami Dolphins RB Jim Kiick passes away

Kiick, who began his NFL career with the Dolphins in 1968, quickly became a star for one of the NFL’s most impressive dynasties. He spent the majority of his career with the Dolphins, making an impact on the field and in the locker room.

While he never made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Kiick played a crucial role in helping the Dolphins win Super Bowl VII and VII.

Jim Kiick’s role in the Butch & Sundance backfield

Kiick joined the Dolphins in the second year of the common draft and formed an incredible duo with Larry Csonka. While Csonka made the Hall of Fame, Kiick excelled in Miami’s defense and often left a mark on any defender who tried to stop him.

A two-time AFL All-Star, Kiick’s stats were impressive for the era. He rushed for 621 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, then led the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns in 1969. Across seven seasons with the Dolphins, he rushed for 3,644 yards and compiled 28 rushing touchdowns.

Kiick was drafted by the Memphis Southmen in the third round of the 1974 WFL Draft. He and Csonka starred together in the World Football League. He returned to the NFL, spending the 1976 and ’77 seasons with the Denver Broncos and his final season with the Washington Redskins.

Jim Kiick’s battle with dementia

As detailed by Sports Illustrated in 2017, Kiick spent many years dealing with declining health. He was diagnosed with dementia and required help at an assisted living facility since 2016.

Sadly, years of playing football took their toll on Kiick. He started dealing with CTE symptoms years ago and his health deteriorated even further. As described by Dr. David B. Ross, an NFL-approved neurologist, Kiick suffered significant brain trauma in his career that caused him to have scars and holes in his brain.

Kiick’s family registered to be part of the NFL’s $1 billion concussion settlement, but the league was still fighting with insurance companies in 2019.

Our condolences go out to Kiick’s family, friends and the teammates and the NFL community.