NFL mourns loss of personnel exec Tom Heckert, who is dead at 51

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Former Denver Broncos personnel executive Tom Heckert. Heckert died on Sunday at age 51. (AP)

Former Denver Broncos front-office executive Tom Heckert died on Sunday night, the team announced on Monday.

Heckert was 51 years old.

Stepped away from Broncos to focus on health

“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,” the team posted on its website. “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 five seasons with Denver as director of pro personnel (2013-16) and senior personnel adviser (2017), but left the team after last season to focus on his health, after being diagnosed with amyloidosis.

Amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when amyloid, an abnormal protein produced in bone marrow, builds up in tissue or organs. 

Matt Millen, the former linebacker and Lions president, also is battling amyloidosis.

‘He had an eye for talent’

Heckert entered the NFL in 1991, as a college and pro with the Miami Dolphins. He left a decade later, having risen to director of pro personnel.

Then he moved to the Philadelphia Eagles from 2001-2010, as director of pro personnel, vice president of pro personnel, and general manager. Heckert also spent three years as the Cleveland Browns‘ general manager before joining Denver in 2013.

Denver suspended Heckert for one month not long after he was hired, after Heckert was arrested for driving under the influence and reckless driving.

While Heckert was with the Broncos, the team went to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl 50.

“Tom was an integral part of our organization and we’re all incredibly saddened today,” general manager John Elway said in a statement. “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.”

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