Given that we're in a quiet period for NFL news, the DUI arrests for two Broncos executives -- director of player personnel Matt Russell and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert -- quickly became the league's biggest story on ESPN and other sports outlets.
Not that such incidents are highly unusual. Turns out the busts were the ninth and tenth by individuals linked to the Broncos since the year 2000, during a period when the team chalked up the third most arrests of any team. Photos and details below.
Russell's cuffing was the first to make news, and more details continue to emerge. On Saturday, according to 9News, he crashed into a vehicle driven by Frisco's Richard Cross on Highway 9, in the vicinity of County Commons. After the pair exchanged info, the Broncos exec drove off in his Toyota Tundra pickup -- and Cross, certain Russell had been drinking, phoned police in the hope of preventing additional accidents.
Nice try. Russell subsequently smacked into a police car in Breckenridge. His blood alcohol content reportedly tested at .246, triple the legal limit.
Afterward, Russell released the following statement....
"I deeply regret the poor judgment I demonstrated that resulted in my arrest over the weekend. I apologize to the Denver Broncos, our fans and the National Football League for this inexcusable mistake. I'm ashamed that I represented this region and the Broncos organization in the manner that I did. I take complete responsibility for my actions and will be fully accountable. Going forward, I will take steps to ensure this never happens again."
...while the Broncos offered this:
"Our organization is extremely disappointed and concerned with the incident involving Matt Russell. We immediately expressed our disappointment to Matt, and he is fully aware of the seriousness of this situation. This type of behavior is unacceptable and very troubling. We expect better from all employees, particularly those in leadership positions. These allegations completely contradict the values and beliefs of the Broncos regarding social responsibility.
"We are continuing to gather information and will handle this matter appropriately and in accordance with all NFL policies."
Word of Heckert's DUI arrest in Parker, with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office doing the dirty work, surfaced shortly after these mea culpas. And to make matters worse, the incident actually took place last month, with the Broncos conceding that they'd been sitting on the info since then. Here's the squad's Heckert statement....
"We were made aware of the matter involving Tom Heckert immediately after it occurred and promptly notified the league office," the Denver Broncos said in a statement. "His arrest is extremely upsetting, and this situation is being handled internally as well as in coordination with NFL policies.
"Tom's actions are obviously part of a disturbing pattern of irresponsible behavior that we are aggressively addressing within our organization.
"One member of the Broncos arrested for driving under the influence is one too many. This type of behavior puts innocent people at risk and cannot be tolerated. While our team and league supply plenty of resources to prevent these situations, it is clear we need to do better.
"We are thoroughly reviewing the procedures we have in place and will do whatever it takes to enhance their effectiveness going forward."
...and this is what Heckert had to say:
"I am extremely disappointed that in my short time with the Broncos I have made such a serious mistake. My actions last month have brought embarrassment to the organization, and I fully understand the consequences that are involved. I am truly sorry and take complete responsibility for this situation.
"Although I have let many people down, I will learn from this and work toward regaining the trust that I have lost."
The Broncos' bungling of these matters is particularly galling in light of how much practice the franchise has in dealing with similar embarrassments. In July 2012, we used a San Diego Union-Tribune database of NFL arrests to document 34 Broncos busts, the third-most of any team since 2000. Of those 34 (some of which involved multiple arrests of single individuals), eight were for driving under the influence.
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Look below to see photos and details of the previous Broncos busted for DUI since 2000.
Knowshon Moreno Running back 2/1/12 Arrested on suspicion of DUI, pulled over for driving 70 mph in 45-mph zone. Continue for more photos and details about Broncos arrested for driving under the influence since 2000. D.J. Williams Linebacker 11/12/10 Arrested on suspicion of DUI after being pulled over at about 2:40 a.m. Darrell Hackney Quarterback 12/1/07 Arrested on suspicion of DUI at 2:20 a.m. Brandon Marshall Wide receiver 10/22/07 Arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Denver. Additional note: Pleaded to reduced charge of driving while impaired, sentenced to a year of probation. Karl Paymah Cornerback 5/26/06 Officers found him unconscious in SUV, with vehicle running and in gear. Additional note: Convicted of DUI and careless driving on July 16, 2008. Continue for more photos and details about Broncos arrested for driving under the influence since 2000. D.J. Williams Linebacker 9/23/05 Arrested, charged with DUI. Additional note: Pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, 24 hours community service, one year probation. John Mobley Linebacker 12/28/02 Arrested for DUI in Parker, Colo. Additional note: Sentenced to seven days in jail. Brian Griese Quarterback 10/28/00 Arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in south Denver. Additional note: Pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, one year probation, $418 fines and costs.
More from our Sports archive: "Photos: 34 Broncos arrests since 2000, third most of any team."