The surprising death of Gene Upshaw has sent shock waves through the NFL. In time, however, significant questions regarding the future of the NFL Players Association will need to be addressed.
As an initial matter, the union will be reeling to replace him but needs to realize it will be impossible in the short term to fill his shoes.
NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen was named the interim executive director on Thursday afternoon. He was chosen over outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, who has a reputation for being combative and antagonistic with league representatives.
Choosing Berthelsen as the interim leader of the NFLPA ensures a degree of continuity because he worked closely with Upshaw over the years and generally shared his vision regarding the union and its relationship with the league.