Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Raider Legend Passes

Gene Upshaw 1945-2008

The Raider Nation is mourning the loss of one of its own today, as the great Gene Upshaw died at the age of 63, due to pancreatic cancer.

A member of the NFL Hall of Fame, Upshaw was the anchor of the Raider offensive line from 1967-81 and was a member of two Super Bowl championship teams. Upshaw teamed with fellow HOF’er Art Shell to form a dominant duo on the left side of the offensive line.
Joined on the line by notables Jim Otto, Dave Dalby, George Buehler, John Vella, Henry Lawrence, and others, the Raider offensive line was one of the most dominant units during the 1970’s.
The efforts of Upshaw, whether he was mowing down an opponent or pulling out on a sweep to bury an unsuspecting corner, led the way for such great Raider runners Hewritt Dixon, Marv Hubbard, Mark Van Eeghan, and Clarence Davis.
The memory that was captured by NFL Films of Upshaw walking off the field, holding the game ball aloft, in the Louisiana Superdome following Oakland’s 27-10 win in Super Bowl XV is one that will stay with me forever. The image of Upshaw, a true warrior in the football sense of the word, with his arms heavily taped and his helmet scratched and scarred from the daily battle in the trenches, is burned in my memory forever.
Well known as director of the NFL Players Association for many years, Gene Upshaw always has been, and always will be, a Raider.
Thanks for the memories.
Rest in Peace.

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