Smith new director of NFL union

Published 2:42 am Monday, March 16, 2009

WAILEA, Hawaii — DeMaurice Smith was elected the new executive director of the NFL Players Association on Sunday, succeeding the late Gene Upshaw.

Smith was chosen as the union’s fourth leader in its 41-year history, and follows Upshaw, who died in August. The NFL outsider, who has served as an attorney in Washington, is challenged with the task of leading the union into a critical new era.

Several NFL player representatives announced the winner as they left the closed-door meeting following the vote. Candidates David Cornwell and Troy Vincent also confirmed Smith won by text message to The Associated Press. Trace Armstrong was the fourth man in contention for the job.

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The players reps heard from the four candidates Saturday and once again Sunday, with the candidates providing their closing arguments before the voting began by secret ballot.

They reps emerged with their selection 90 minutes later.

A Washington-based attorney with ties to President Barack Obama, Smith was regarded as the union outsider and wasn’t revealed as a candidate until the final months of the selection process.

The vote was tabulated and verified by accounting firm KMH LLP of Honolulu.