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Paul Rochester, ex-Jets defender, Super Bowl champ, dies at 81

Former New York Jets defensive lineman Paul Rochester — who helped the franchise win its lone Super Bowl appearance in 1969 — has died. He was 81.

The Jets announced Rochester’s death Tuesday and said he died last weekend. The AFC East franchise did not reveal a cause of death.

Rochester attended Michigan State before his 10-year professional football tenure. He started his career in 1960 with the American Football League’s Dallas Texans.

The Lansing, Mich., native entered the league as an undrafted free agent. The Texans, who became the Kansas City Chiefs, released Rochester in the middle of the 1963 season. He immediately signed with the Jets and spent the remainder of his career with the team.

The 1961 Pro Bowl selection won an AFL title in 1962 with the Texans. He was part of the Jets’ only Super Bowl win — and appearance — in 1969. Hall of Famer Joe Namath quarterbacked the Jets that season. Rochester appeared in 84 games for the franchise.

The Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Don Shula was the coach of the Colts that season. Shula, who went on to win two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins, died on May 4.

Rochester is one of 20 players who played in all 10 AFL seasons before the league merged with the NFL in 1970. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughter Laurel Nielsen and son Don.

Notable deaths of 2020

 

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