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Hall of Fame defensive lineman Curley Culp, a key member of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV team, dies at age 75

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Curley Culp, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman and a key member of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ first Super Bowl championship team, died Saturday morning. He was 75 years old. Culp’s wife  announced the passing of her husband Saturday morning via social media. Culp announced last month that he had been recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

A 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Culp excelled at both nose and defensive tackle during his 14-year career in pro football. In his second season, Culp earned his first of six Pro Bowl selections while helping the Chiefs become the second AFL team to win the Super Bowl. 

“Curley Culp was a tremendous athlete,” former teammate and Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson said of Culp back in 2013, via the Chiefs’ team website. “He had such strength and quickness. I remember Jack Rudnay used to say that every center in the league should have to go against Curley, in order to know what it’s like to go against the very best.”

In Super Bowl IV, Culp and the rest of the Chiefs defense forced five turnovers while holding the Vikings to just 13 first downs and 239 total yards in a 23-7 win. Culp, who was added to the Chiefs’ Hall of Honor in 2008, was one of five members of the 1969s Chiefs defense to receive Hall of Fame induction. 

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“I’m just very grateful to get this honor,” Culp said of his Hall of Fame induction back in 2013, via ESPN’s Bill Williamson. “It crosses my mind at least once or twice a day. I realize what an honor it is, and it’s very exciting to know that it is finally coming.”

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After six-plus years with the Chiefs, Culp was traded from Kansas City to Houston during the 1974 season. With the Oilers, Culp recorded 37 of his 68.5 career sacks. He earned four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1975-78 that included an All-Pro nod in 1975, when he recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks. Culp’s presence helped the Oilers make consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances in 1978 and ’79. Culp finished his career with the Lions before retiring at the end of the 1981 season. 

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Curley Culp,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. “He was a wonderful man of great integrity who respected the game of football and how it applied to everyday life. Curley’s humility and grace were always apparent. He loved the Hall of Fame — always proudly wearing his Gold Jacket as he visited Canton many times following his election in 2013.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Curley’s wife, Collette, and their entire family during this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard his legacy. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Curley’s memory.”


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