Via a Lions' press release:
"When you think about it, I can't think of anybody who's ever had as big of an impact both on and off the field in the National Football League as Gene Upshaw did.
"He's had a big impact on the game and he's had a big impact on a lot of players - they (young players) don't even know. There are a lot of guys who have no idea all of the stuff, all the sacrifices, all the foundational work, all this stuff has been done that he's been behind.
"We called him 'The Governor' when he was a player. That's what he was. He was one of those guys who conducted himself that way and saw himself that way and everybody else saw him that way. It was no surprise that he did what he did. He was a gifted guy, at the right time and right place and above all else, Gene Upshaw loved our game. It didn't matter about winning; it mattered about getting the thing right.
"To me, that piece can't be replaced. The passion that the guy had for the game that he played for a long time, that's irreplaceable. That's going to be missed.
"Just look at the body of work that he had from when he played and he's in the Hall of Fame. You look at the body of work since he's played and its Hall of Fame material too. You're going to get a fight from me for anybody who wants to dog the guy because I think the guy did a fantastic job."