KUSA – Tom Heckert Jr., who twice helped John Elway and Matt Russell build Super Bowl rosters for the Broncos, has died following a lengthy battle with amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder.
Heckert, 51, was the Broncos’ director of player personnel from 2013-16. The team reached Super Bowl 48 following the 2013 season and won Super Bowl 50 to cap 2015.
“Tom was an integral part of our organization and we’re all incredibly saddened today,’’ Elway, the Broncos’ general manager, 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.”
Heckert had followed his father, Tom Heckert Sr., into the NFL as a scout and executive. Tom Jr. got his first scouting job with the Miami Dolphins when he was just shy of his 24th birthday. He later became general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2006-09 and Cleveland Browns from 2010-12.
During his time with the Eagles, Heckert hired Russell as a scout. In 2013, Russell, who is the Broncos’ director of player personnel, returned the favor and hired Heckert to run Denver’s pro scouting department.
“The biggest thing with Tom was his loyalty, how he cared about his friends and how good he was at his job,’’ Russell said in a statement. “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.”
Heckert’s illness forced him to step back into a consulting role in 2017 and leave the Broncos following this year’s draft.
Heckert is survived by his mom Rose, children Griffin and Madison and former wife Kathy.