Denver Broncos president Joe Ellis said the team has been humiliated with recent drunken driving charges against Matt Russell and Tom Heckert, the top two assistants to football operations boss John Elway. Ellis promised severe discipline. "This type of behavior is inexcusable, unacceptable and completely embarrassing," Ellis told The Denver Post. "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." Heckert, the Broncos' director of pro personnel, is facing DUI charges from an arrest last month in Parker, the Douglas County Sheriff's office said Tuesday. He joins Russell, the Broncos director of player personnel, in facing DUI charges. Russell was arrested Saturday night in Summit County after allegedly hitting two cars, one of them a Breckenridge police car. Heckert, 45, was arrested at 10:15 p.m. June 11 near South Chambers Road and East Main Street. Police say he possibly had been weaving out of his lane, according to Douglas County Sheriff's spokesperson Ron Hanavan. Heckert joined the Broncos on May 7 after previously serving as the Cleveland Browns general manager. Ellis said the team is in the process of gathering information from authorities regarding Russell's multiple charges in Summit County over the weekend. The Broncos had known about Heckert's arrest since it happened. Ellis has been in contact the past two days with the NFL office about how to proceed. Russell and Heckert not only face punishment from the legal system, but by the Broncos and the NFL in terms of suspensions and fines. A rehabilitation program is also likely to be mandated. "These are egregious errors," Ellis said. "The only good thing is nobody was seriously or critically hurt. Both employees have been on the record expressing their remorse and that's all well and good. But it's not going to prevent us from addressing this in the right manner. "Executives in our company are held to a higher standard. That's a mandate handed down from the commissioner. One episode is one too many. Two is ridiculous. I understand the outrage in the community, I understand the outrage of the fans. It's justified. We have an obligation to do the right thing. And we will. "The anger and disappointment — I don't know how else to describe it. We'll deal with this the right way and we're in the process of doing that. My expectation is the discipline will be severe." The Broncos released an official statement late Tuesday acknowledging Heckert's arrest after The Associated Press reported the story. "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." Heckert was charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. His first court date in Douglas County was Monday, according to police — the same day news broke of Russell's arrest. Douglas County, per policy, will not release the blood alcohol content level.
Another Broncos exec facing DUI charges; Tom Heckert arrested
Denver Post | Jul 10