Reactions from Eagles president Joe Banner and safety Brian Dawkins on the death of NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw. Dawkins is a member of the NFLPA's 10-member executive committee.
Banner: ``Gene never got the credit that he deserved. If you study the (sports) leagues, the position he had of creating a partnership (with the owners) and getting a meaningful majority of the gross revenues, and then focusing on building the (revenue) pot because it would raise the boat for all the players, was absolutely right.
``The other leagues have struggled with popularity and work stoppages and huge disparities between the top-paid guy and the bottom-paid guy. There are teams that can't compete and teams that can in all of the other sports. The NFL has had an explosion in the value of franchises, an explosion in popularity. It's been a total win for everybody. It's hard to imagine there are many other people who would've been in Gene's position and had the foresight to think of this as an option.
``The other thing you had to admire about him was he was unfazed by criticism. He believe in what he was doing. He was like, `I've thought about this. I believe in this.' It's not easy with the constituents he had and the media coverage to stay strong in the light of all the criticism that he got.''
Dawkins: ``It was a major shock to me. It's a tremendous loss. You're talking about a man who's left behind an incredible legacy. From where we started at (as a union) way back in the day to where it is today, with what the league is bringing in dollarwise, and all the (player) benefits and different things he's had a hand in, he's left this organization in a very, very good place.''
Dawkins on who might replace Upshaw as NFLPA executive director: ``We'll do our due diligence. We've begun already talking about that process (of finding an eventual successor) prior to this. We'll continue along those lines that we've already been on and will identify those individuals, and hopefully we'll come up with that one person who will be able to lead us and bring us even further than we are right now.''