Upshaw memorial today

Before we move on to the games this weekend, there is some sobering business to tend to today.

The memorial service for for former NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw will be held this morning at 11 a.m. ET at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C.

There will be all sorts of NFL dignitaries attending, including NFLPA executives, NFL executives and former Oakland Raiders. Got a hunch that one of the guest speakers will be one of Upshaw’s former coaches, John Madden, who is preparing to cover Thursday night’s regular-season opener between the Washington Redskins and New York Giantsat the Meadowlands.

These kinds of services are inspiring, exhilarating and sobering, all at once. They are a mix of emotions. And this is one that will take on added significance. The NFL -- and really, this country -- has lost one of its most influential figures.

Old No. 63 is gone at the age of 63.

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