Longtime NFL executive Heckert dies at 51

Tom Heckert (AFP pic)

DENVER: Tom Heckert, a longtime NFL player-personnel executive, died Sunday night at age 51.

He started as a scout with the Miami Dolphins in 1991 and had a 27-year career that included stops as the general manager of both the Philadelphia Eagles (2006-2009) and Cleveland Browns (2010-2012). Heckert was hired by Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway in 2013 to assume a role in the Denver personnel department.

His father, Tom Sr, also was a longtime player-personnel executive.

Heckert left the Broncos after the 2017 season, citing health reasons. Several years ago, he was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare protein disorder.

“Tom was an integral part of our organisation and we’re all incredibly saddened today,” Elway said in a statement released by the team. “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.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement:

“We are saddened to learn of Tom Heckert’s passing. Tom gave everything he had to this organisation for nine seasons and played a major role in the construction and success of our team during that time. In addition to being a talented evaluator and respected voice, he was a mentor and friend to so many within our organisation and around the league. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him and our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Heckert is survived by his children, Griffin and Madison, his mother, Rose, and his ex-wife, Kathy.