NFL greats hit the links in Truckee |

NFL greats hit the links in Truckee

Staff Report

More than 25 NFL players and other sports celebrities including Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Fred Biletnikoff, Mike Haynes and James Lofton will pay tribute to football great Gene Upshaw on July 14-15 during the 5th annual Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic at the Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing in Truckee.

Proceeds from the celebrity tournament go to the Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund held at Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation. The fund benefits the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center and the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research.

Since the inaugural in 2009, the event has raised nearly $500,000 for pancreatic cancer research, quality medical treatment and care for cancer patients and their families, sustainability and advancement of medical technology, and funding for research in areas such as traumatic brain injury.

Upshaw died in August 2008 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63. He was a founding member of the Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing.

The shamble format for the event includes one sports celebrity and four guests in each team. Social gatherings include receptions and banquets at The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Tahoe.

Early commitments for this year’s tournament include aforementioned NFL Hall of Famers and former Raiders head coach Tom Flores and NFL players Tim Brown, Raymond Chester, Herm Edwards, Steve Bono plus decorated American downhill and Super G skier Daron Rahlves among the field of 25 to 30 celebrities.

Practice rounds begin July 14, followed by a private VIP pairings party. Tournament play begins July 15, with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start and awards banquet.

Upshaw served as executive director of the National Football League Players Association from June 1983 to August 2008, after a successful 16-year career as a player with the Oakland Raiders. During that time, Upshaw worked diligently to enhance, protect and defend the individual rights of professional football players throughout the National Football League. Upshaw also served as chairman of National Football League Players Incorporated.

A perennial All-Pro offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders, Upshaw was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility. He played in 217 league games and appeared in six Pro Bowls.

He was named Lineman of the Year in the AFC in 1973 and 1974. In 1977, he was voted top lineman in the NFL, and received runner-up for that honor in 1980. Upshaw is the only player in NFL history to play in three Super Bowls in three different decades.

Upshaw was a team captain while also serving as an NFLPA player representative and officer for 13 years. He served as alternate representative or player representative for the Raiders from 1970 to 1976 and was a member of the executive committee from 1976 through 1980 when he was elected president of the NFLPA, a post he held until 1983.

For registration, sponsorship opportunities and volunteer inquiries and a list of participating celebrities, visit