Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti dead at 78

Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who anchored the Miami Dolphins' "No Name Defense" that helped craft the only undefeated season in NFL history, died Wednesday, his son Marc said. He was 78, ESPN reported.

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"Today, with a heavy heart and profound sorrow, my family and the entire Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Buoniconti Fund community mourn the loss of a man who was truly larger than life, my father, NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti," Marc Buoniconti said in a statement. "My dad has been my hero and represents what I have always aspired to be; a leader, a mentor and a champion."

Nick Buoniconti co-founded The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Marc Buoniconti was paralyzed while playing a college football game in 1985, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Buoniconti played in three Super Bowls with the Dolphins, winning two of them. After the Dolphins lost Super Bowl VI, Buoniconti and Miami embarked on a two-year record of 32-2, which included a 17-0 mark in 1972 and back-to-back Super Bowl victories.

Nick Buoniconti was an eight-time Pro Bowler during his 14 seasons in the NFL. He spent seven years with the Boston Patriots before coming to Miami in 1970. He retired after the 1976 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Buoniconti intercepted 32 passes and recovered six fumbles during his career.

The former linebacker said in November 2017 he would donate his brain for CTE research, ESPN reported. He revealed earlier that year he had been suffering from memory loss.

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