The Denver Broncos will take the lead in disciplining its two team executives facing drunken-driving charges and will be aggressive in sending a message that their behavior is not acceptable, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
It will not be a surprise if director of pro personnel Tom Heckert, 45, and director of player personnel Matt Russell, 40, are suspended, with lengthy bans possible, according to the sources.
Heckert was arrested in Parker, Colo., on the night of June 11 and charged with driving under the influence and careless driving, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
Word of his arrest came Tuesday, just one day after Russell apologized for his arrest over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Former Broncos center Tom Nalen, who has a radio show on 102.3 ESPN in Denver, criticized the Broncos for not previously publicizing Heckert’s arrest, saying it could have prevented Russell from his incident. Tom Nalen @TomNalen
maybe if the broncos were more proactive in dealing with heckert, russell doesn’t get the DUI. cowards
7:08 AM – 10 Jul 2013
In an interview with ESPN’s “NFL Live” on Wednesday, Nalen said he called the Broncos cowards because, while the team is saying it will be proactive now, it could have taken the same approach after Heckert’s arrest in early June but didn’t.
“They could have turned a negative into a positive with Tom Heckert,” he said.
Broncos president Joe Ellis told the Denver Post on Tuesday that the two recent incidents have humiliated the team.
“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,” Ellis told the Post. “My expectation is the discipline will be severe.”