Spanos: NFL owes 'debt of gratitude' to Upshaw

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Chargers have just sent out a statement from president-CEO Dean Spanos on Gene Upshaw's death:

"This is disheartening news for my family and me. Gene was familiar to all Chargers fans because of his Hall of Fame playing career with the Raiders and our annual rivalry with his team. During his years as player union chief, he was a tough, relentless negotiator but most important, his top priority was the game itself. He fought hard for his Players Association but never at the expense of the fans or the game. Everyone associated with the NFL today owes a debt of gratitude to Gene Upshaw."