Eugene Thurman Upshaw, Jr. was born August 15, 1945, in Robstown, Texas and graduated from Texas A&I University.
Gene Upshaw was the Oakland Raiders’ first-round choice in the first combined AFL-NFL draft in 1967.
Gene Upshaw served as President of the NFLPA from 1980 until he was elected the Executive Director in 1983. He served in that capacity for 25 years.
Gene Upshaw played in 307 preseason, regular season, and post-season contests. Included in his 24 post-season games were three AFL and seven AFC championship games and Super Bowls II, XI and XV.
Gene Upshaw established the Professional Athletes Foundation in 1990 to provide assistance for players facing financial crisis.
Gene Upshaw passed away on August 20, 2008, at the age of 63. His legacy of helping players is felt through the continued work of the NFLPA and the Professional Athletes Foundation.
Gene Upshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 1987.