ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos are very saddened to learn that former personnel executive Tom Heckert passed away peacefully last night in the company of his family.
Our deepest condolences and sympathies go out to Tom’s family—especially his mother Rose, children (Griffin and Madison) and former wife (Kathy)—his friends and the many people he worked with during his 27 seasons in the NFL.
Heckert spent the last five years in the Broncos’ personnel department, helping the team to three playoff appearances (2013-15), two AFC Championship Game wins (2013 and ’15) and a victory in Super Bowl 50 (’15). He worked as the Broncos’ Director of Pro Personnel from 2013-16 before accepting a position as the team’s Senior Personnel Advisor in 2017.
Heckert stepped away from the Broncos following the 2017 season to focus on his health, having been diagnosed in recent years with amyloidosis.
The Broncos added Heckert to their staff on May 7, 2013, after he spent the previous seven years as general manager for the Cleveland Browns (2010-12) and Philadelphia Eagles (2006-09). Heckert was originally hired by Philadelphia as director of player personnel in 2001 before being promoted to vice president of player personnel in 2003.
Heckert began his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins as a pro and college scout from 1991-98 before his promotion to assistant director of pro personnel/college scout in 1999 and director of pro personnel in 2000.
A graduate of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Heckert played defensive back for the school and spent two years as an assistant coach on its staff before beginning his NFL career. His father, Tom Sr., worked for more than 20 years as an NFL player personnel executive before retiring in 2007.
Heckert was born on July 17, 1967, and was 51 years old.
Please see below for statements from Broncos President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell:
PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/GENERAL MANAGER JOHN ELWAY
“Tom was an integral part of our organization and we’re all incredibly saddened today. With his many years of experience and time as a GM, Tom was a tremendous resource and a key member of our team. He was a very good evaluator—He had an eye for talent, and we always trusted his voice. It’s easy to see why Tom was widely respected and had so many great relationships across the league. I’ll always be grateful for how he helped me transition into this position. My prayers go out to Tom’s family, friends and everyone he worked with during his career.”
DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL MATT RUSSELL
“Tom hired me in Philadelphia and was a beloved friend for many years. The biggest thing with Tom was his loyalty, how he cared about his friends and how good he was at his job. Tom was one of the best because he combined exceptional player evaluation skills with his incredible network of connections around the NFL. Those relationships he formed are a testament to how well he treated everyone. Tom was a loyal friend and my heart goes out to his family.”