The NFL announced yesterday that the late Gene Upshaw will be honored at each of the league’s 16 opening weekend games. All players will wear a special patch throughout the 2008 season containing Upshaw’s initials and the number “63” — his playing number during his time with the Oakland Raiders. The patch and number will be painted on the field at Giants Stadium for Thursday’s NFL opener between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, and will also appear at McAfee Coliseum when the Raiders host the Denver Broncos this Monday night.
While a special video tribute will be played at all host stadiums this weekend, the Raiders are planning an expanded tribute to Upshaw, who played for the “Silver and Black” from 1967 to 1981. Upshaw, the longtime head of the NFL player’s union and Pro Football Hall of Famer, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 63 from pancreatic cancer.