Troy Vincent declined to discuss whether he's interested in succeeding Gene Upshaw in leading the NFL Players' Association because he is still mourning the union's executive director's death -- and a person Vincent referred to as "a mentor."
"I will not discuss anything outside of my mourning and sympathy for (the Upshaw) family," Vincent wrote in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press on Tuesday, in what were the former NFLPA president's first public comments since Upshaw died last week.
Vincent, a former NFL defensive back, is considered a candidate to take over as NFLPA executive director, a position which is filled on an interim basis by Richard Berthelsen, the union's chief counsel. Vincent played 15 NFL seasons and spent the past four years as the union president before he was succeeded by Tennessee Titans center Kevin Mawae.
Vincent had been considered a potential successor to the job prior to Upshaw's death, but had previously sidestepped questions about his plans, saying he would only consider the post if approached by the union.
Vincent, on Tuesday, did release a statement honoring and remembering Upshaw.
In expressing his deepest sympathy to the Upshaw family, Vincent noted he was grateful to have worked with Upshaw in a statement posted on ProAthletesOnly, a Web site which Vincent co-owns.
"I struggled to find the words to articulate my appreciation for the experience of working intimately with one of the greatest union leaders in history," Vincent wrote. He added Upshaw will be remembered among the ranks of other influential NFLPA leaders, such as John Mackey, Ed Garvey and Bill Radovich: "All who made sacrifices to advance the cause of the players."
Vincent particularly remembered his time spent working with Upshaw, noting that, "Gene's words and invaluable lessons as a man and mentor will live on in my life."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press