Quotes on the death of NFL Hall of Famer and NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw:
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``Gene Upshaw did everything with great dignity, pride, and conviction. He was the rare individual who earned his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame both for his accomplishments on the field and for his leadership of the players off the field.'' - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
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``It is a sad day for the NFL, but Gene's positive impact and legacy will live on for decades to come.'' - Goodell.
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``Gene was a true pioneer as one of the few African American leaders of a major union. He was the equal of owners in negotiations and made the league a better place for all players. Playing alongside of Gene was an honor and a privilege. He was a pillar of strength and leadership for our great Raider teams.'' - statement released by former Oakland Raiders player and coach Art Shell, and his wife Janice.
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``Few people in the history of the National Football League have played the game as well as Gene and then had another career in football with so much positive impact on the structure and competitiveness of the entire league as Gene. In both careers, if you hit him in the head, he could hit you back twice as hard - but he didn't always do so.He was very tough but also a good listener. He never lost sight of the interests of the game and the big picture.'' - former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
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``Gene and I developed a close friendship that remained strong through the good times and some of the NFL's most difficult challenges. We worked very closely on key issues that allowed the NFL to maintain unprecedented labor peace. His biggest asset was his understanding of the business of the game, and you always knew that his concern for the game's best interests guided his actions.'' - Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.
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``Gene continually served in the best interests of the game of football. He played a colossal role in the success the NFL enjoys today, even more than many people realize.'' - New York Jets chairman Robert Wood Johnson.
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``Gene was an outstanding advocate for the players and he made many great contributions to our sport. He was also a good and decent man. He will be sorely missed.'' - New York Giants president John Mara.
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