Monday, October 16, 2006

Opposite sides, for once

When they played for the Oakland Raiders, Art Shell and Gene Upshaw started alongside each other for more than a decade. Shell, the left tackle, and Upshaw, the left guard, both played so well they wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And both continued their football careers once their playing days were over.

Shell became a coach, and he is in his second stint as head coach of the Raiders.

Upshaw became the head of the players' union, the National Football League Players Association.

That led to this strange situation this week:

Shell suspended insubordinate wide receiver Jerry Porter last week for four games, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

The union, of course, appealed.

So Upshaw must show a decision made by his friend, Shell, is wrong. Strange, indeed.