NFLPA Union Director Gene Upshaw dead at 63


Upshaw Dies At Age Of 63

Multiple sources have confirmed that NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw has died at the age of 63. Upshaw had been fighting pancreatic cancer. Upshaw had held the Exec Dir position since ’83. His contributions include guiding the league through the ’87 strike and overseeing the advent of free agency. 

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said, “If you identify perhaps the 5 most important figures in NFL history, Gene Upshaw will be among them.” ESPN’s Josh Elliott: “His executive career … led to the burgeoning of what has become the dominant sports league in American sporting history” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/21).


Upshaw was a great man, and paved the way for the current labor peace in the NFL today.  With the possibility of the players opting out of their deal in 2010, the NFL will miss Upshaw and his ability to maintain order in negotiations.

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