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2nd Denver Broncos executive faces drunken driving charges

By: arnie stapleton The Associated Press
July 9, 2013 Updated: July 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm
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photo - Tom Heckert
Tom Heckert 

ENGLEWOOD - A second Denver Broncos executive is facing drunken driving charges, The Associated Press has learned.

Tom 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.

Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said the Broncos are aware of this other matter involving Heckert and would provide comment shortly.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 30 for Heckert. His lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, wasn't available for comment.

Broncos Executive Vice President John Elway hired Heckert on May 7. In his new role, he works closely with Elway and Russell, who faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in injury after police said his 2008 Toyota Tundra crashed into a Breckenridge police SUV on Saturday night.

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.

Both Russell, who was hired in 2009 to oversee the Broncos' college scouting department, and Heckert face possible heavy discipline from the team and the league in addition to any legal consequences.

The NFL's personal conduct policy applies to front office executives as well as players, and Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated he wants to stiffen the penalties for first-offense drunken driving cases.

Penalties could range from stiff fines to suspensions and even banishment from the NFL.

In 2010, Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand was suspended for a month and fined $100,000 by the league after he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired.

Russell was arrested over the weekend 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.

Heckert is entering his 23rd season in the NFL. He started as a scout for the Miami Dolphins in 1991. Before his three-year stint with the Browns beginning in 2010, Heckert spent nine seasons with Philadelphia, including his final four years (2006-09) as the Eagles' general manager.

Three of those seasons (2006-08) were spent working with Russell, who was a college scout for the Eagles during that time.

Heckert's father, Tom Sr., spent more than 20 years as an NFL player personnel executive.

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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