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Former Broncos C Tom Nalen calls team 'cowards' over DUI arrests

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Russell (left) was charged with DUI last week; Heckert (right) was charged last month. (TheDenverChannel.com)
It's been a rough few days for the Broncos' front office. On Monday, it was reported that Matt Russell, the team's director of player personnel, had been arrested on DUI charges over the July 4 weekend. A day later, we learned that Tom Heckert, the director of pro personnel, was also arrested on DUI charges on June 11.

The news prompted the team to release strongly worded statements denouncing Russell and Heckert, adding that such actions "cannot be tolerated."

And now, former Broncos center Tom Nalen, recently named to the team's Ring of Fame, wonders why the organization didn't address Heckert's arrest when it happened four weeks ago.

It's a fair question, and ignorance isn't an excuse. The Broncos admitted Monday to knowing about Heckert's arrest shortly after it happened.

"We were made aware of the matter involving Tom Heckert immediately after it occurred and promptly notified the league office," the team said via its statement on the matter. "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."

But Nalen contends that maybe Russell's arrest could have been avoided if the organization had addressed Heckert's arrest when it happened.

Not that it will make Nalen feel any better, but Russell and Heckert could face penalties under the NFL's personal conduct policy, which applies to players and front office personnel.

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