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Winston Hill (1941 - 2016)

AP Photo / Bill Kostroun, File

Winston Hill (1941 - 2016)

Winston Hill, the former New York Jets tackle who helped protect quarterback Joe Namath in the Jets' 1969 Super Bowl win, died April 26, according to multiple news sources, including The Associated Press. He was 74.

In a news release, the team's owner, Woody Johnson, said Hill was "one of the Jets' all-time greats."

"I was very sad to hear of the passing of Winston Hill," Johnson said. "He was our most decorated player with a franchise-record eight all-star game appearances. And as accomplished as he was on the field, he was an even better person whose profound impact on his teammates and those who came in contact with him left an impression for a lifetime.

"He was the type of man who, if you were his friend, you thought you were his best friend."

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Hill was born Oct. 23, 1941, in Joaquin, Texas. Although he played tennis in high school, he ended up playing college football at Texas Southern University before he was drafted by Baltimore in the 11th round of the 1962 NFL draft. The following year, he switched to the Jets the day after he was released. He never looked back.

Hill still holds the Jets' record among offensive linemen for having played 195 consecutive games. That streak continued even through the 1965 season when Hill broke a leg before the season started. Hill was an eight-time All-Star, a franchise record.

"Winnie was like my brother," former center John Schmitt said on the Jets' website. "He was a terrific football player. His heart was as big as his body. He did not have a bad thing to say about anyone. I am going to miss that turkey."

After retiring from football, Hill opened Winston Hill's BBQ restaurant in Centennial, Colorado.

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