Unfortunately, another NFL great has passed away unexpectantly. Oakland Raiders Guard Gene Upshaw died on August 20, 2008, of pancreatic cancer.
Upshaw became ill while on vacation at his home in Lake Tahoe. His wife took him to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Three days later, and just five days after his 63rd birthday, Upshaw died.
Gene Upshaw played his entire career with the Oakland Raiders from 1967 to 1981. During that span, Upshaw started 207 games out of the 217 that he played. He was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. He was an 11-tme All-Pro selection also. He played on two Super Bowl Champion teams in Super Bowls XI and XV. He would later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
After playing football, Upshaw became involved in the NFL Players Association where he has been Executive Director since 1983. Over the past two years, Upshaw has been at odds with many retired players. In 2006, over 300 retired players went public with stories of being destitute and unable to receive disability benefits. Several players wanted Upshaw removed from the association.
Upshaw was a great football player and person. He will surely be missed by all, even his critics. Our condolences go out to the Upshaw family.