Tom Heckert Jr., who served in the personnel department of the Denver Broncos from 2013 to 2017, died Sunday night after a long illness.
He was 51.
His NFL career spanned 27 seasons, including stints as general manager of the Cleveland Browns (2010-2012) and the Philadelphia Eagles (2006-2009). He joined the Eagles as player personnel director in 2001, and worked closely with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, building an Eagles roster that appeared in five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl during an eight-year span.
“My family and I are heartbroken over the loss of Tom,” Reid said. “I was privileged to work with him in Philadelphia and we developed a great friendship and trust over the years. He was a special talent evaluator and well respected across the league. Beyond the game he was an exceptional person and someone I leaned on throughout our time together. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tom and his family. He will be greatly missed.”
For several years, Heckart had suffered from amyloidosis, a rare disease that causes a buildup of amyloid proteins. He had left the Broncos after last season as the condition worsened.
“I’m going to take some time off and not work anywhere for a little while,” Heckert told a Denver TV station at the time. ”The Broncos have been great. They have gone above and beyond during my time there with my health stuff. I’m getting treatment and overall I am doing well.”
In s statement, Broncos general manager John Elway said, “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’s father — Tom Sr. — was also a respected NFL personnel executive. He retired in 2007. Heckert leaves behind his mother Rose, his children Griffin and Madison and his former wife Kathy.