Players to Wear Uniform Patches For Upshaw

The league announced today that all NFL players will wear patches on their jerseys this season honoring Gene Upshaw, the late executive director of the players' union.

The patch will include Upshaw's initials and the number 63, his jersey number during his Hall of Fame playing days with the Oakland Raiders.

"Gene was a truly unique, one-of-a-kind contributor to the NFL," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement issued by the league. "No one in our game has ever combined Gene's level of achievement both as a Hall of Fame player and as an executive leader. No one did more for NFL players than Gene Upshaw. He deserves our everlasting respect and thanks."

In addition, Upshaw's wife Terri and sons Eugene Jr., Daniel and Justin are to participate in the pregame coin toss at the NFL's season-opening game Thursday night between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants at Giants Stadium, and the Raiders will honor him with a video tribute before their game next Monday night against the Denver Broncos.

Upshaw also will be featured on the cover of the Raiders' game program, and a replica of the uniform patch will be painted on the field at Giants Stadium for Thursday night's game and at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland for Monday night's game, the league announced.

Upshaw died Aug. 20 at a home he owned in California, three days after going to a nearby hospital for tests that led to him being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

By Mark Maske |  September 1, 2008; 4:54 PM ET  | Category:  Upshaw
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