During the football-free period between minicamp and training camp, NFL teams cross their fingers, hoping their players will avoid run-ins with the law. But for the 2013 Broncos, such worries are apparently better placed with front office personnel.
For the second time in as many days, news emerges that a Denver executive has been arrested for drunk driving, this time director of pro personnel Tom Heckert.
Heckert, who joined the team in May following stints with the Eagles and Browns, was arrested on June 11 in Parker, although thankfully in less dramatic fashion than Russell, who crashed into a parked police cruiser in Breckenridge over the weekend.
As with Russell, the Broncos released a biting statement regarding Heckert's dangerous mistake:
We were made aware of the matter involving Tom Heckert immediately after it occurred and promptly notified the league office. His arrest is extremely upsetting, and this situation is being handled internally as well as in coordination with NFL policies.
Tom’s actions are obviously part of a disturbing pattern of irresponsible behavior that we are aggressively addressing within our organization.
One member of the Broncos arrested for driving under the influence is one too many. This type of behavior puts innocent people at risk and cannot be tolerated. While our team and league supply plenty of resources to prevent these situations, it is clear we need to do better.
We are thoroughly reviewing the procedures we have in place and will do whatever it takes to enhance their effectiveness going forward.
Obviously, the team wasn't concerned enough about setting the proper example to make public the news of Heckert's arrest at the time.
But team president Joe Ellis tells the Denver Post to expect that "the discipline will be severe."
This type of behavior is inexcusable, unacceptable and completely embarrassing. It's embarrassing for us as a franchise, it's embarrassing for Mr. (Pat) Bowlen, it's especially embarrassing for our fans. We don't tolerate it and we're not going to.
According to Mike Klis, Russell and Heckert are likely facing fines and suspensions from the league and possibly the Broncos, and perhaps attendance in rehabilitation programs.
Heckert and Russell first worked together with the Eagles, where Heckert served as a GM in name only under Andy Reid, while Russell was a scout.