Sauer died of Alzheimer’s disease, said Dana Keifer, his sister and only survivor, according to the Times.
Sauer caught eight passes from quarterback Joe Namath during the Super Bowl after Don Maynard was injured. The underdog Jets beat the Colts 16-7.
Sauer was a four-time All-Star in the American Football League and played in the AFL and National Football League for the Jets from 1965 through 1970. He appeared in 84 games and caught 309 passes for 4,965 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He retired from the NFL at the end of the 1970 season at the age of 27, saying he was disillusioned by the life of a professional football player.
“When you get to the college and professional levels, the coaches still treat you as an adolescent,” he said in an interview in 1971 with the Institute for the Study of Sport and Society, according to the Times. “They know damn well that you were never given a chance to become responsible or self-disciplined. Even in the pros, you were told when to go to bed, when to turn your lights off, when to wake up, when to eat and what to eat.”
Born on Nov. 10, 1943, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Sauer grew up in Waco, Texas, where he became a receiver at the University of Texas. He was a member of Texas teams that went undefeated in 1963-64, winning the Cotton Bowl, and then defeated Alabama in the 1965 Orange Bowl.
Skipping his last year of college eligibility, he joined the Jets, where his father, George Sauer Sr., was the director of player personnel.
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