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Matt Stover shocked by Upshaw's passing

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

It's no secret that Baltimore Ravens kicker and NFLPA rep Matt Stover didn't always see eye to eye with Players Association head Gene Upshaw.

But their recent differences were insignificant Thursday, when Stover addressed reporters in Baltimore in regards to Upshaw's passing to pancreatic cancer.

Stover said he was surprised and saddened by Upshaw's sudden death. Not long ago, the Ravens kicker reportedly led a group of players that were trying to unseat Upshaw from his post.

"As a player rep for 16 years and somebody who's been on the executive committee, it's very shocking," Stover said. "It's a tragic time for Gene and Terri and for his family, for the boys, and for our union, too. He's been a great asset for us and it's disappointing that that's happened."

Stover described Upshaw as a person with both "tenacity" and "courage."

Stover also reiterated Thursday that the main goal now is to honor Upshaw for all the good he's done for players and prepare the union to be able to move forward in the short and long term.

"I do know that we've already placed an interim executive director, Richard Berthelsen, in office,'' Stover said. "I think that is very wise. Our executive committee immediately responded to make sure that the union realized that we have leadership intact, and that the players understand it and the NFL owners know that we have proper leadership."