The Philadelphia Eagles originally drafted Kuechenberg in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL Draft. Cut by the Eagles, Kuechenberg subsequently signed and was almost immediately released by the Atlanta Falcons. In 1970, after playing seven games – five without pay – with the Chicago Owls of the semi-pro Continental Football League, the former Notre Dame lineman was inked to a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins. Kuechenberg, who never gave up on his dream of playing in the NFL, was working as a salesman when he signed his Dolphins contract.
During Kuechenberg’s tenure with the Dolphins, the team won seven AFC Eastern Division titles, four AFC championships and NFL titles in Super Bowls VII and VIII. A tremendous competitor, the 6-2, 253-pound lineman was named to six Pro Bowls during his career and by the time of his retirement played in more games (196) than any other player in Dolphins history. Kuechenberg was also the only player to play in all 19 playoff games in Dolphins history at that time.
A versatile player, Kuechenberg played on both the offensive and defensive lines at Notre Dame. With the Dolphins he also saw duty as a tackle and center. In 1978, he played eight games at guard and seven at the left tackle spot, earning a Pro Bowl berth as a guard and Sporting News All-AFC honors as a tackle. In 1983, he handled snapping chores on field goal attempts. Of 195 regular season and playoff starts, 31 were at the left tackle position.
Durable, Kuechenberg rarely missed a game as he had consecutive start streaks of 53, 42, and 49 games during his career. In 1973, he sat out the season finale with a fractured forearm, but returned for the playoffs and effectively shutout the Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page in the Dolphins’ Super Bowl VIII victory. An ankle injury caused him to miss the last four games of the 1976 season. In 1977, he suffered a pair of fractures in his back inAugust, yet managed to return to the starting lineup after missing just two regular season games. However, following a year on the Dolphins injured reserve list in 1984, Kuechenberg, the Dolphins’ “old pro,” announced his retirement from the game. He was named to the Dolphins Honor Roll on December 11, 1995.