As union head, Upshaw helped get NFL players free agency.
Gene Upshaw, the Hall of Fame guard and executive director of the NFL Player's Association, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Wednesday. He was 63. Several members of the Texans' organization spoke about Mr. Upshaw.
Texans owner Bob McNair
"We were very saddened to learn of the sudden death of Gene Upshaw. Gene was greatly admired as a Hall of Fame player and as a staunch advocate of players' rights. He was a force to be reckoned with both on the field and as Executive Director of the NFLPA. We send our condolences to his wife and children on behalf of the Houston Texans.
"Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease that has affected many people who are close to us. We feel it is important to find a cure for this deadly disease and it is one of the major focuses of The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation's research efforts through the McNair Scholars at Baylor College of Medicine and M. D. Anderson."
TE Mark Bruener and K Kris Brown, NFLPA representatives
"We're all deeply saddened about the sudden loss of Gene Upshaw. He has done so much for the NFL during his years as the executive director of our union and as a player. His leadership can not personally continue; however, the legacy he established will continue to lead our players today and the players of tomorrow.
"The NFL union's executive committee has unanimously voted Richard Berthelsen to be our interim executive director. We know the leadership will continue to be strong because of the people Gene has put in place to sustain a strong union."