The Denver Broncos promised severe penalties for executives Matt Russell and Tom Heckert following their recent driving under the influence arrests. On Monday, those penalties arrived.
Russell will be suspended indefinitely without pay, the team announced. Heckert will be suspended one month without pay for his infraction. Treatment will be provided as needed with an evaluation ongoing.
"The Broncos will support Matt and Tom during their suspensions and beyond as necessary," the team said in a statement. "They will be provided with treatment resources as needed in the form of education, counseling and other rehabilitation programs.
"Specifics of their treatment will be kept confidential due to the personal nature of these matters. Both will be monitored closely to ensure compliance and will be thoroughly evaluated before any potential return to employment with the Denver Broncos."
NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Monday that the NFL has informed the Broncos it has no plans for further punishment for Heckert and Russell's transgressions. Breer also noted the Broncos could find themselves subject to the league's salary remittance policy, which penalizes clubs for repeat offenses within an organization.
Russell's punishment is more harsh, in part because his crime was more severe. Russell was charged with DUI earlier this month in Colorado after hitting a parked police vehicle at 40 mph. He also was charged with having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, careless driving resulting in injury and failure to display proof of insurance, according to an affidavit obtained by NFL Network and NFL.com.
Timing might have also played a factor in Russell's punishment. Breer notes that Russell was aware of Heckert's arrest -- the Broncos met about it -- and yet he didn't change his own behavior.
Heckert, hired this offseason as the director of pro personnel, was charged June 11 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.
Russell occupies the No. 2 spot in the Broncos' front office behind vice president of football operations John Elway, with Heckert slotting in behind Russell. Breer reported that Elway, owner Pat Bowlen, and president Joe Ellis were involved in a conference call Monday to set the discipline for Russell and Heckert. The results are clear.
"It's particularly disappointing that two members of my staff acted so irresponsibly," Elway said in a statement. "Simply put, it's unacceptable and inexcusable."