Friday, August 22, 2008

Gene Upshaw........1945-2008.......R.I.P.

Eugene Thurman Upshaw, Jr. ...........

Born in Robstown, Texas and attended what is now Texas A & M, were he was a member of "Alpha Phi Alpha", the first intercollegiate fraternity established exclusively for African Americans.

Upshaw took his 6' 5", 255 pound body and played for 14 years in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders.

His career included being named All-pro 11 times, playing in the Pro-bo
wl 7 times, and winning two Super Bowls. Upshaw was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Yet, it may well be the last 25 years in which he will be most remembered for. As head of the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA), he was charged with the task of keeping the peace between owners and players in America's most popular sport.

It was not always easy. Remember the unsuccessful players' strike of 1987? The seemingly endless anti-trust litigation against the league?

Finally, the Upshaw led NFLPA struck a deal which led to free agency, a salary cap, and increased revenue sharing with its union members.

Gene Upshaw died Wednesday night. He was only 63. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer, after being diagnosed .......only this past Sunday.

Our thoughts are with his wife .......and family.

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