Eagles react to Upshaw's passing

August, 21, 2008
8/21/08
12:40
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Statement from Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on the passing of Gene Upshaw

"On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, I am very saddened and shocked to learn of Gene Upshaw's passing this morning. Whether it was as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Oakland Raiders or as executive director of the NFL Players Association, Gene was a tremendous leader and a wonderful person. Gene always believed the best way to build the popularity of our sport was to craft a dynamic partnership between the players and the owners that served the best interest of the fans. We, as well as the entire NFL family, will miss his presence dearly and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Teri, and their three sons."

Eagles safety Brian Dawkins on what Gene Upshaw meant to the NFL

"From where the union started to where it is today is leaps and bounds. A lot of that credit has to go with Gene and what he stood for. He stood his ground on a lot of key issues. With the backing of the players he was able to get us in a pretty good position in terms of health benefits with the presidents at the time, be it Troy [Vincent] and Trace [Armstrong]. They worked to get us in a very good position, and he's left us in a very good position."

Dawkins on how shocked he was to learn of his passing today

"A tremendous shock. I don't know the situation of when he was diagnosed. I don't know any of that information. To have someone of Gene's age and the way he carried himself, to all of a sudden receive a phone call that Gene has passed away was a huge shock to me. That's why I always live my life in a certain way and that's to make sure my house is in order because you never know when that time is coming."

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