Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Gene Upshaw counted Denver owner Pat Bowlen as one of his closest contemporaries. As the executive director of the NFL Players Association, Upshaw worked closely with Bowlen on several league matters.
Upshaw told me on numerous times that he felt better about getting deals done in the league because of the presence of Bowlen. Bowlen has long been complimentary of Upshaw as well.
Today, Bowlen released a statement after Upshaw's sudden death:
"I am stunned and saddened by the news of Gene Upshaw's death. I enjoyed working with Gene over the years and found him to be a complete professional, a great credit to the game and a man of outstanding character. He will be missed. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family."