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Gene Upshaw, President of the NFLPA, Dead At 63

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Numerous news outlets are reporting that Hall of Fame Enshrinee and current NFLPA President Gene Upshaw has died this morning of complications from Pancreatic Cancer. 

Adam Schefter confirmed the report on Sirius NFL Radio after talking to sources with the NFLPA.  Amazingly, no one within the NFL or NFLPA knew that Upshaw was even sick, and incredible indictment on the toughness and tenacity that Upshaw showed during his Hall of Fame career.

Upshaw, a former 11-time All-Pro offensive lineman, had been fighting the disease and has now succumbed to it, according to recent reports.

Gene Upshaw, 63, was the longest-tenured labor leader in sports. He played with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders from 1967 until 1981. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and an 11-time All-Pro.

Gene Upshaw is the only player in NFL history to play in three Super Bowls in three different decades – in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

He has been Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association since June 1983. Clark Gaines was named by Upshaw as his predecessor earlier in the year.

While rivalries on the field between the Broncos and Raiders tend to divide us, moments such as this remind us as to what is important.  Gene Upshaw, both on the field and off, was a huge reason that the NFL we love today is what it is.  Take a moment, if only for a second, to send well wishes to the Silver and Black, who lost one of their legends, and to the NFL that lost a true champion.

Upshaw is survived by his wife, Terri, and sons, Justin, Daniel and Eugene Jr.