CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Carolina Panthers reserve tight end Chad Upshaw was on the field Thursday and the team tried to follow its normal practice routine.
It wasn't easy. As Upshaw mourned the death of his cousin, players and coaches reacted with sadness to the death of players association chief Gene Upshaw.
``I think it was a shock to everybody,'' quarterback Jake Delhomme said.
Chad Upshaw, who was one of the Panthers' final cuts as a rookie in 2007 and is a long shot to make the 53-man roster this year, practiced despite hearing the news of his second cousin's passing from pancreatic cancer a few hours before the workout began. He declined afterward to speak to reporters.
``It will be a tough deal for a few days,'' said long snapper Jason Kyle, who is the Panthers' union representative. ``Right now guys are just sad at the news.''
Coaches, too. John Fox, who grew up in the San Diego area watching Upshaw play guard for the Oakland Raiders, got to know the Hall of Famer shortly after Fox began his NFL coaching career in Pittsburgh.
``He's been a close friend of mine for 20 years,'' Fox said. ``I think he was a real servant to the league. He did great things and the league is a lot better now than before he took over. He'll be missed.''
Upshaw, 63, died Wednesday night at his home in Lake Tahoe, Calif. after being diagnosed with cancer on Sunday. He leaves a wife and three sons.
Chad Upshaw is the son of Gene Upshaw's cousin Willie, a former major league first baseman with Toronto and Cleveland.
Chad Upshaw, 24, has bounced around the league since going undrafted out of Buffalo in 2007. He was cut by the Panthers before the regular season last year. He then had stints on practice squads with Carolina and Denver before he re-signed with the Panthers in April.
He was cut a week before training camp, then re-signed on Aug. 5.
If he can somehow stick on a 53-man roster, he'll make about $300,000 this season, because of the work of a family member.
``What Gene's done, what our union has done, for salaries and benefits and things of that nature, he's left his mark,'' Delhomme said. ``Certainly our condolences go out to his family.''
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Packers vs. Falcons Prediction Will the Packers pull off the upset in Atlanta today at 3:05PM ET when they visit the Falcons for the 2017 NFC Championship Game?
Thumbnail AFC Championship Odds The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers look to make another trip to the Super Bowl when the two collide in the AFC Championship...
Thumbnail NFC Championship Prop Picks Will the Packers and Falcons both go over their individual team totals in today's 3:05PM ET NFC Championship Game?
Thumbnail Public Bettors Backing Packers Are public bettors backing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers or Matt Ryan and the Falcons ahead of today's NFC Championship Game?
Thumbnail Packers' overall health in tatters The last four teams remaining in the NFL’s postseason party find themselves besieged by various physical problems. So who’s in and who’s out entering Championship...

NFL Team Pages