- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 23, 2008

From combined dispatches

Hall of Fame player and longtime NFL union head Gene Upshaw will be remembered this weekend with a moment of silence at NFL preseason games.

Upshaw, who served as the executive director of the NFL Players Association for 25 years, died Wednesday night of pancreatic cancer at his home near California’s Lake Tahoe, just days after learning he had the disease. He was 63.

The NFL said Friday that it had sent a memo to the teams hosting the preseason games to ensure Upshaw would be honored. The moment of silence will be held before the game when all the players are on the field.

The first remembrance took place in Atlanta before the Falcons hosted the Tennessee Titans. A picture of Upshaw was shown on the video board at the Georgia Dome as the public address announcer gave a brief review of the Hall of Fame guard’s playing career.

Fans and players then observed a moment of silence before the national anthem.

About 15 minutes before kickoff of the Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys game, when the teams weren’t on the field at Texas Stadium and the stands were half-full, a moment of silence was observed prior to the national anthem.

Texans kicker Matt Turk was the only player on the field, and he walked along the sideline during the moment of silence. A split image of Upshaw was displayed on two large video boards. One photo showed him during his playing days with the Oakland Raiders and the other was a more recent picture.

Upshaw’s funeral is expected to be a private family service in California, with a memorial service to be held in Washington next month. No date has been announced.

PATRIOTS: Tom Brady, nursing a foot injury, didn’t start and was expected to miss his third straight preseason game when New England played Philadelphia.

Brady, who has practiced sporadically but hasn’t played in a game, wasn’t seen on the sidelines when backup quarterback Matt Cassel took the field to direct the Patriots’ first series.

Brady, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and last season’s NFL MVP, didn’t make the trip to Tampa, Fla., for last Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the Buccaneers. He said the next day he had a right foot injury. He also sat out the first exhibition game, a 16-15 home loss to Baltimore which he watched from the sideline.

49ERS: J.T. O’Sullivan will start at quarterback for San Francisco when the NFL regular season begins next month.

O’Sullivan clinched the job with a strong performance during Thursday night’s 37-30 preseason victory over Chicago, and 49ers coach Mike Nolan said it was time to make O’Sullivan’s status official after a summer of uncertainty.

“J.T. O’Sullivan will be our starting quarterback going into the season and I’m expecting him to succeed,” Nolan said. “I’m very confident J.T. is at the point where he’s our best man for the job right now.”

O’Sullivan, a long shot to become the starter when training camp began at the end of July, overtook veteran holdovers Alex Smith and Shaun Hill during the past two weeks. The sixth-year player, now with his eighth NFL team, has never started a regular-season game in the league.

RAMS: Tackle Orlando Pace says his sore right shoulder is from making a tackle, and not related to his past surgery.

Pace landed on his shoulder during the 7-6 preseason win over San Diego last week. He said it’s not related to the labrum or rotator cuff, which were torn during the 2007 season opener against Carolina.

“I think I did it when I was trying to make a tackle, and I landed on it pretty good,” said Pace, who had season-ending surgery Sept. 20.

The seven-time Pro Bowler said he “didn’t know I’d hurt it until Monday when I came in, and I couldn’t raise my arm and it was swelling. That was a little concern to me.”

Pace returned to practice Thursday for the first time since the soreness. The team had a light workout Friday at Rams Park.

BILLS: Starting quarterback Trent Edwards won’t play in Sunday night’s preseason game against Indianapolis because of a bruise above his right kneecap.

Edwards missed his third straight practice Friday since knocking knees in a collision with running back Marshawn Lynch on Tuesday night.

LIONS: Detroit has signed quarterback Drew Henson, a high school and college standout who has struggled at the professional level in baseball and football.

Terms of the signing, announced on the team’s Web site, weren’t disclosed.

Henson was signed after second-year quarterback Drew Stanton sprained the thumb on his throwing hand in practice Thursday. He will be sidelined about a month.

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