He attended Texas A&I University and reluctantly tried out for the football team, in hopes of earning a scholarship to pay for his education. Three days later he had his scholarship. By the time he graduated, he was a 6-5 265 lb All American.
The Oakland Raiders drafted him in the first round of the 1967 AFL draft. He spent his entire 15 year career with the Raiders, at one point starting in 207 consecutive games. He was named to play in seven Pro Bowls, was the NFL Lineman of the year in 1977, the AFC Lineman of the year in 1973 and 1974, and was the only player to play in Super Bowls, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Link to in-depth ESPN article, gives some background on Upshaws upbringing in South Texas.
Corpus Christi Caller article.
Houston Chronicle article.
More from Corpus Christi Caller.
San Francisco Chronicle story.