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Broncs punish executives

Published July 15, 2013 6:46 pm

NFL notes • Elway's top advisers suspended after DUI arrests this summer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Denver Broncos came down hard on their two executives facing drunken driving charges, suspending them without pay and making it clear they must straighten out their lives if they want to work in the NFL again.

Director of player personnel Matt Russell was suspended indefinitely, and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert was suspended for a month.

Team president Joe Ellis said both men expressed remorse. But "this in no way excuses their conduct," Ellis said.

Russell and Heckert will be provided with confidential treatment, rehabilitation and counseling services and must comply with these programs before they're allowed to return to work, Ellis said.

While some critics were calling for the executives' ouster, Ellis emphasized, "We're not inclined to tear down lives even further. We're inclined to help people rebuild themselves."

Executive vice president John Elway's top two advisers were arrested and jailed on suspicion of drunken driving in separate incidents within a month of each other this summer, resulting in the biggest black eye for the organization since a videotape scandal cost former coach Josh McDaniels his job in 2010.

Around the league

Broncos • After rejecting a $50 million offer and playing last season for a relative bargain price of $3.5 million, offensive tackle Ryan Clady cashed in on his gamble by signing a five-year deal worth up to $57.5 million on Sunday. After offseason surgery on a torn right labrum, he hopes to be cleared to play by early August.

49ers • San Francisco signed undrafted punter and kickoff specialist Colton Schmidt to a three-year contract. Schmidt, from UC Davis, will compete against punter Andy Lee and kicker Phil Dawson, likely serving as the backup for each during training camp.

Bills • Buffalo failed to reach a long-term deal with free-agent safety Jairus Byrd, and it's unclear whether he'll sign his one-year franchise tag offer from the team. Byrd was given the franchise label in March, and the two sides faced a Monday deadline to work out a long-term deal.