New York Jets QB Brett Farve with the GU patch honoring Gene Upshaw. Photo by Steve Mitchell / US Presswire
TSHOF Remembers NFL Legend
By Kyle McKanna
There’s an old saying – Heroes get remembered. Legends never die.
The proof of this was never more evident than this past weekend when each NFL player honored the passing of one of the games great legends, Gene Upshaw, with a “GU” patch on their jersey.
Upshaw, who played his college ball at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville), was taken in the first round by the Oakland Raiders. He made the All-Pro team eight times and was the first player to play in a Super Bowl in three different decades.
In 2000, Upshaw was inducted in to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. His playing credentials, which include two Super Bowl Championships and six Pro Bowl appearances, would have easily been enough to solidify his spot among the state’s elite. However, Upshaw is remembered as much for what he did for the game after he retired as he is for what he did while he played.
As a leader of the NFLPA, Upshaw played a key role in negotiating the leagues current salary cap and free-agency policies. He served as the Executive Director of the NFLPA until he unexpectedly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer this past August.
The NFL plans to have players wear the “GU” patch all season: A signal that though he may be gone, Upshaw’s influence on the game will live forever.