DENVER (CBS4) – The Broncos acknowledged what they call a “disturbing pattern” after news broke this week of two top executives facing drunk driving charges.
Tom Heckert was arrested just a little more than a month after he was hired. The team said they knew about his arrest.
Heckert, the Broncos’ recently hired director of pro personnel, was arrested in Parker on the night of June 11 and charged with driving under the influence and careless driving, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
The news comes one day after Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell apologized for his arrest over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence in Breckenridge.
Russell was arrested after allegedly hitting two vehicles in Summit County in separate crashes, the second of which injured a Breckenridge police officer, who was treated at a hospital and released.
Penalties for both men could range from stiff fines to suspensions and even banishment from the NFL.
Just a few months ago NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed alcohol and drug use in the NFL, “I don’t think it’s a secret that the discipline in this area needs to be revisited and escalated. In a first offense and a second offense. Hopefully that never happens.”
Broncos Executive Vice President John Elway hired Heckert on May 7. In his new role, he works closely with Elway and Russell.
Heckert, who turns 46 on July 17, joined the Broncos after serving as general manager of the Cleveland Browns for the last three seasons. His responsibilities in Denver include scouting current NFL players and will include overseeing the advance scouting for Broncos opponents.
The Broncos released this statement regarding Heckert’s arrest: “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.”
Heckert released this statement, “I am extremely disappointed that in my short time with the Broncos I have made such a serious mistake. My actions last month have brought embarrassment to the organization, and I fully understand the consequences that are involved. I am truly sorry and take complete responsibility for this situation.
Although I have let many people down, I will learn from this and work toward regaining the trust that I have lost.”
In 2010 Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand was arrested for DUI. He kept his job but was suspended one month and issued a $100,000 fine.