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Sam Ball, an All-America tackle at Kentucky and member of Baltimore Colts' 2 Super Bowl teams, dies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Sam Ball, an All-American offensive tackle at Kentucky who was a member of two Super Bowl teams with the Baltimore Colts, has died. He was 79.

The school announced Ball’s death in his hometown of Henderson, Kentucky, on Monday after receiving word from his family. No cause of death was given.

Ball was an all-state and All-American player at Henderson High School before earning similar honors with the Wildcats. He lettered from 1963-65 on Kentucky’s varsity under Charlie Bradshaw after playing on the freshman squad and was a consensus first team All-America as a senior.

Ball also made the All-Southeastern Conference first team that season, blocking for teammates who set school records in rushing, passing and total offense. His play earned appearances in the College All-Star, North-South Shrine and Senior Bowl games.

Ball played 61 NFL contests with the Colts after being drafted 15th overall in the first round in 1966. Baltimore posted pro football’s best record those five seasons and Ball played on the 1968 NFL championship team in Super Bowl III and the 1970 squad that won Super Bowl V in '71, his final pro game.

He managed his own farm and was an award-winning salesman in the agriculture industry after returning home. Ball was also a public speaker and conducted a free football camp that served more than 2,000 boys. His golf scramble, most recently held last month, benefited the homeless community.

Kentucky retired Ball’s No. 73 jersey and inducted him into its Athletics Hall of Fame. Ball was elected to the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ball’s son, Shane, played at Kentucky from 1991-94 and wore No. 37 because, “I wanted to be a reflection of my father,” the release stated. Ball also had twin daughters Shannon and Shelly.