Re: Broncos Player Personnel Director Arrested, Faces Several Charges
Broncos suspend Russell, Heckert
ESPN.com news services
The Denver Broncos on Monday suspended director of player personnel Matt Russell indefinitely without pay and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert for one month without pay for their recent drunken-driving arrests.
The team said in a statement announcing the discipline that they informed the NFL of the punishment and the league said it has no plans to impose further punishment.
“Broncos Although they have expressed great remorse, this in no way excuses their conduct. The decisions they made away from the workplace undermined the integrity of our organization and the NFL as well as the values instilled by Pat Bowlen during his ownership.” -- Broncos president Joe Ellis
The Broncos also said that Russell and Heckert will be provided "treatment resources as needed in the form of education, counseling and other rehabilitation programs."
Both executives' progress in treatment will be monitored by the team and evaluated before they will be permitted to return to their jobs with the team. The Broncos said they also will monitor the legal cases of both men to determine their "future standing with the organization."
The Denver Post, citing police reports, reported last week that Heckert's blood alcohol level was .162, while Russell's was 0.246, well over the legal limit of .08 at the time of their arrests.
"Although they have expressed great remorse, this in no way excuses their conduct," team president Joe Ellis said in the statement. "The decisions they made away from the workplace undermined the integrity of our organization and the NFL as well as the values instilled by Pat Bowlen during his ownership.
"Specifically and most disturbingly, their actions endangered the lives of innocent people."
Vice president of football operations John Elway said in the statement that when he returned to the Broncos two years ago he stressed that each person employed by the team has "an individual responsibility to represent this team in the appropriate manner at all times."
"It's particularly disappointing that two members of my staff acted so irresponsibly. Simply put, it's unacceptable and inexcusable," he said.
Heckert, 45, 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, however, came just last Tuesday, one day after Russell, 40, apologized for his arrest days earlier on suspicion of driving under the influence. Russell was arrested July 6 on charges of DUI, no proof of insurance, careless driving causing injury, and having an open container.
State troopers say Russell was arrested after rear-ending a Breckenridge police officer's SUV that had stopped on the shoulder of Colorado 9 to pull over Russell, who was suspected of driving drunk. Russell and the officer were taken to hospitals and released.
Town spokeswoman Brodie Boilard said Russell had been in a minor accident earlier Saturday, and the other driver called police after suspecting Russell was intoxicated.
Meanwhile, The Post reported Monday that Broncos offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on May 19. He spent last season on the team's practice squad and also served a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
"We have been aware of Quentin Saulsberry's arrest and will continue to monitor the legal developments related to this matter, which is subject to review under the NFL's policies," team spokesperson Patrick Smyth told the newspaper Monday.
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