DIED The first African American to serve as executive director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), Gene Upshaw held the post for 25 years. An outstanding offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, Upshaw was selected seven times for the Pro Bowl and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. When he was director of the NFLPA, his experience on the field gave him a unique understanding of player dynamics and helped him craft significant union agreements--including the game-changing introduction of free agency. He died of pancreatic cancer at age 63.

From the distinctive cymbal crashes...

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