Broncos suspend Matt Russell, Tom Heckert

On Monday, the Denver Broncos suspended director of player personnel Matt Russell indefinitely without pay and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert for one month without pay for their recent drunken-driving arrests.

Statement from Broncos president Joe Ellis:

“We have closely reviewed the incidents involving Matt Russell and Tom Heckert independently as well as part of a larger issue we must address. Throughout this process, we had extensive conversations internally and consulted with the National Football League.

“This morning, we informed both Matt and Tom of the discipline as well as our expectations of them going forward. While they will be punished and held accountable, our first priority is their health and well-being. We must ensure they receive any care they need and support them however possible.

“Although they have expressed great remorse, this in no way excuses their conduct. The decisions they made away from the workplace undermined the integrity of our organization and the NFL as well as the values instilled by Pat Bowlen during his ownership.

“Specifically and most disturbingly, their actions endangered the lives of innocent people.

“There is no place for drinking and driving, and we certainly expect better from those in leadership positions. The resources we make available within our organization are critically important, but there is nothing more vital than individual responsibility.

“It is imperative that we affect the decision-making process to end this reckless behavior.

“Our education, counseling, resources and awareness regarding this serious offense must be improved. That process has already begun.

“We will take these steps and more as we deal with this issue in the most thorough manner possible.”

Statement from Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway:

“When I was named to this position two years ago, I spoke of the role this organization has in the community. We all have an individual responsibility to represent this team in the appropriate manner at all times.

“It’s particularly disappointing that two members of my staff acted so irresponsibly. Simply put, it’s unacceptable and inexcusable.

“I was extremely concerned when Tom Heckert notified me of his arrest in June. We talked about it as a staff, reinforced the intolerable nature of his actions and notified the league as we began the disciplinary process.

“To hear of Matt Russell’s incident last week was especially disturbing considering the timing and severity of those allegations.

“While Matt and Tom have apologized and taken accountability, it’s most important they take advantage of whatever help they need.

“We will learn from this and take the necessary action as we move forward in a positive way.”

From The Denver Post: 

Russell, who was promoted a year ago from top scout to a position where he oversees the Broncos’ college and pro scouting departments, also was cited for careless driving resulting in injury and open container as police found an open bottle of peppermint Schnapps in his truck. He also allegedly hit a car in Frisco minutes before he slammed into the patrol car.

According to the Colorado State Patrol report, Russell was driving approximately 40 mph when he hit the police vehicle. The officer in the SUV was taken to a local hospital with neck and back pain but was released with minor injuries, according to the police report.

Russell had a blood-alcohol content of .246 — more than three times the legal limit when he was arrested after he hit a Breckenridge police SUV.

As for Heckert, a former general manager with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, he was arrested in Parker, Colo., on the night of June 11 and charged with driving under the influence and careless driving.  He had a blood-alcohol content of .162 upon his release from jail seven hours after he was arrested, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

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