Thursday August 21, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) -- Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Players
Association executive director Gene Upshaw has died at age 63. The union said Upshaw passed away in his Lake Tahoe, California, home last night of pancreatic cancer, just days after he was diagnosed. His death comes only two days after the union announced it would hold a briefing on labor negotiations before the regular-season opener.
Upshaw spent his entire 15-year playing career with the Oakland
Raiders, winning two Super Bowls and going to 10 conference
championship games. He also was selected to seven Pro Bowls before
retiring in 1982.
Upshaw had worked with the union during his playing days and was
named executive director in 1983. He helped players obtain free
agency and led the association through a 1987 players strike that
led to games with replacement players.
Players have prospered so much that league owners recently opted
out of the latest labor contract, which was negotiated two years
ago by Upshaw and then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Upshaw was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987.