"We at the Green Bay Packers today were saddened to learn of the passing of Gene Upshaw.
"Gene was a Hall of Fame player who very much appreciated the game and all its traditions and history. Through his leadership on behalf of the players, he helped to strengthen the game and grow the popularity and success it enjoys today.
"Personally, I owe a lot to Gene. I had the chance to work with him first as a player representative, and then he gave me a start with the players association as an assistant executive director in 1985 after my playing career had ended.
"I was impressed that he always had the best interests of the game in the forefront, even though he remained a strong advocate for the players. At the end of the day he always wanted to do what was right for the game.
"He treated the players with dignity, and they had great respect for him given his stature as a Hall of Famer and all of his accomplishments in more than 40 years of NFL involvement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."