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Former New York Jets star Winston Hill dies at 74

Winston Hill, one of the pillars of the New York Jets' offensive line throughout the 1960s and 70s and part of the team's Super Bowl III victory in 1969, died Tuesday in Denver, the Jets announced. He was 74.

Hill established himself as one of the premiere offensive linemen in the American Football League and with the NFL during the latter part of his career. He was a four-time AFL All-Star (1964, '67-'69) and a four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection ('70-'73). He played 14 seasons with the Jets and one season with the Los Angeles Rams before retiring in 1977.

Born in Joaquin, Texas, on Oct. 23, 1941, Hill was selected by the Baltimore Colts 145th overall in the 1963 NFL Draft. After being cut by the Colts in August 1963, the Jets signed him the next day.

Hill holds the Jets' franchise record for an offensive lineman with 195 consecutive games played. He managed to achieve this mark despite playing with a broken leg in 1965 and having his throat stepped on in 1974.

"I guess DNA has a lot to do with it," Hill said about the feat, according to the Jets' official website, "along with a hard-work ethic."

Hill was inducted into the Jets' inaugural Ring of Honor class in 2010.

"I was very sad to hear of the passing of Winston Hill tonight," Jets owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. "He was our most decorated player with a franchise-record eight all-star game appearances.

"As accomplished as Winston 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," Johnson continued. "He was the type of man who if you were his friend, you thought you were his best friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of one of the Jets all-time greats."

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