Denver Broncos  

 

Broncos to discuss Matt Russell, Tom Heckert discipline Monday

Denver Broncos senior executives will meet Monday at the team's Dove Valley facility to discuss discipline for the recent driving under the influence arrests of personnel chiefs Matt Russell and Tom Heckert, according to a club source.

President Joe Ellis and executive vice president of football operations John Elway will be in attendance, and owner Pat Bowlen will be part of the talk via conference call. Per a team source, the team sanctions are expected to be significant, with financial repercussions and suspensions. The club has driven the process and, according to a team source, will levy its own discipline independent of the league discipline. The NFL then would look at the penalties and determine if further action is necessary.

Russell was arrested for possible DUI earlier this month in Colorado after being involved in an accident with a police vehicle. He was charged with DUI, having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, careless driving resulting in injury and failure to display proof of insurance, according an affidavit obtained by NFL Network and NFL.com.

Heckert was charged with driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more and careless driving June 11 in Parker, Colo., a Douglas County Jail spokesman told NFL.com and NFL Network.

The NFL is monitoring the Broncos' handling of the process. Denver officials met Heckert the day after his June 11 DUI arrest and alerted the league right away, although the case didn't come to light until after Russell's DUI arrest. Since then, team officials have remained in contact with the NFL's New York office.

The Broncos also could find themselves subject to the league's salary remittance policy, which penalizes clubs for repeat offenses within an organization. According to league rules, Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to apply non-player suspensions to the policy.

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Under the policy, if a second player or employee is suspended within the same season, the league can fine the team 25 percent of that player or employee's salary up to $200,000. For a third player or employee suspended, the league can fine the club 33 percent of that player or employee's salary up to $350,000. For a fourth player or employee suspended, the league can fine the club 50 percent of that player or employee's salary up to $500,000.

So for Denver, because these would be the first Bronco suspensions in 2013, Heckert's suspension would be first and the Russell's would be the second going into the formula.

League officials acted on a similar case three years ago, levying a 30-day suspension and $100,000 fine on Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand for a DUI. The NFL later reduced the suspension to 21 days.

Goodell also wrote a letter to Lewand, which said, in part, "You occupy a special position of responsibility and trust, and -- as you have publicly acknowledged -- your conduct must be consistent with someone in that position."

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer

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