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This will be the first opportunity to see the payoff
ENGLEWOOD Royce Freeman Jersey White , Colo. (AP) — Tom Heckert, a former personnel executive for the Denver Broncos who also served stints as general manager for the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles, has died following a long illness, the Broncos said. He was 51.Heckert stepped away from the Broncos after last season after being diagnosed in recent years with amyloidosis, a rare disease that causes a buildup of amyloid proteins in the heart, kidney, liver and other organs. He died Sunday night.Heckert spent 27 years in the NFL, including the last five in the Broncos’ personnel department. He was the teams’ director of pro personnel from 2013-16 before becoming senior personnel adviser in 2017.“Tom was an integral part of our organization and we’re all incredibly saddened today,” general manager John Elway 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.”Before coming to Denver, Heckert was the general manager for the Browns (2010-12) and the Eagles (2006-09).“We are saddened to learn of Tom Heckert’s passing,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “Tom gave everything he had to this organization for nine seasons and played a major role in the construction and success of our team during that time. In addition to being a talented evaluator and respected voice, he was a mentor and friend to so many within our organization and around the league. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him and our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”The Eagles went to the playoffs seven times in Heckert’s nine seasons in Philadelphia, winning five NFC East titles, making five appearances in the conference championship and reaching one Super Bowl.“Tom came to Philly in 2001 and made an instant impact on and off the field,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said in a statement. “He hired great people and his legacy is seen throughout the league in high-ranking front office positions and how many people today are talking about him and telling Heckert stories.“He took the time to help all of us get better and learn more about how to evaluate and build teams. His record as a GM was outstanding. When he worked here everyone wanted to be around him and listen to his stories about his time in the league and his experiences around the game. He was one of the first people to congratulate us all when we won the Super Bowl. Thoughts and prayers are with his family, including his kids.”Heckert began his NFL career in 1991 as a scout with the Miami Dolphins, who promoted him to assistant director of pro personnel/college scout in 1999 and director of pro personnel in 2000. He was hired by the Eagles as their player personnel director in 2001 and was promoted to vice president of player personnel in 2003.His father, Tom Sr., worked for more than 20 years as an NFL player personnel executive before retiring in 2007.His time in Denver included three playoff trips, two Super Bowl appearances and a win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50.“It’s easy to see why Tom was widely respected and had so many great relationships across the league,” Elway said. “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.”Matt Russell Courtland Sutton Jersey White , the Broncos’ director of player personnel, worked with Heckert in Philadelphia and Denver.“Tom was one of the best because he combined exceptional player evaluation skills with his incredible network of connections around the NFL,” Russell said. “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.”The Browns also released a statement expressing the organization’s sympathy: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tom Heckert and share our sincerest condolences with his family and friends, including the many lives he impacted with the Browns organization and throughout the entire NFL during his established career.” OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Denver Broncos changed coaches, coordinators, systems and the starting quarterback since they last came to Oakland in the second-to-last game in 2018.The Raiders have merely overhauled the roster in the offseason and then made an even bigger move two days before the opener with the decision to release star receiver Antonio Brown.Instead of being the headline addition to the Oakland roster, Brown was let go after a tumultuous summer in Oakland that featured a bizarre foot injury, a fight over his helmet, multiple fines and run-ins capped by a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock and his release.Article continues below ...“It’s been crazy,” receiver Tyrell Williams said. “We feel how everybody else feels. It’s been wild, it’s been crazy, it’s been unexpected. But we’re going to go out there and play regardless. He made that decision. We’re going to go out there and play how we’re going to play.”The new-look teams will be on display when the two longtime AFC West rivals square off in the season opener Monday night at the Coliseum.Even without Brown, the Raiders figure to have more than a dozen new starters when the season starts, with an entirely new receiving group, a revamped offensive line led by Trent Brown, and a first-round running in Josh Jacobs that could give quarterback Derek Carr the support he needs.“We all know how Derek Carr is when you can protect him, he can go through the reads and he feels comfortable back there,” Denver edge rusher Von Miller said. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league if he can do that.”The changes have been even more dramatic in Denver where new coach Vic Fangio has brought in a new defensive system and the offense has been dramatically changed under coordinator Rich Scangarello and new quarterback Joe Flacco.But Carr knows he’ll still have to deal with players like Miller, fellow edge rusher Bradley Chubb and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. as the Raiders seek to get off to a good start to the season.“It’s kind of exciting,” Carr said. “Both teams know that both schemes are going to be very different. You can only prepare so much, but at the end of the day they still have those players over there.”Some other things to watchTongueROTECT THE CARRThe Raiders made protecting Carr a bigger priority this season after he was sacked a career-worst 51 times last year. Brown was brought in as right tackle and Kolton Miller is being counted on for big improvement on the left side. That duo will be tested against perhaps the best edge rushing tandem in the league in Miller and Chubb. Making the task even harder is that Oakland will have two backups at guard, with Jordan Devey expected to replace the suspended Richie Incognito on the left side, and Denzelle Good stepping in for injured Gabe Jackson on the left side.“We can’t make excuses Joe Flacco Jersey ,” center Rodney Hudson said. “We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”WINNING WAYSThe Broncos change coaches and quarterbacks on an almost yearly basis, but one thing remains constant: winning on opening weekend. They own the best kickoff weekend record in the NFL at 39-19-1, and they own the longest active winning streak, having won every opener for the last seven seasons behind a mix of coaches John Fox, Gary Kubiak and Vance Joseph, and QBs Peyton Manning, Trevor Siemian and Case Keenum.ROOKIE DEBUTSThe Raiders had four picks in the top 40 of the draft, including three first-rounders after trading away stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper last season.  from that decision. No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell is slated to start at defensive end where he is being counted on to upgrade a pass rush that had a league-low 13 sacks last year. Safety Johnathan Abram, the 27th pick, and cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who went 40th, will upgrade a secondary that struggled to slow down offenses. Jacobs provides a featured back on offense to take some pressure off Carr.NO SEASON CAPTAINSFangio has done away with several traditions in Denver, like the hideous haircuts rookies used to get, and music blaring at practice. Now, he’s even done away with having season-long captains. Instead, he’ll pick game-day captains.“I just think everybody’s got the license to be a leader on the team,” he said. “You don’t need to be appointed. I think leadership is something that somebody takes; it’s not granted to them, whether it be by the coaching staff or a vote. You take it. You don’t get proclaimed that.”FINAL OPENER?This game starts what should be a goodbye season in Oakland, with the Raiders slated to move to Las Vegas in 2020. The outdated Coliseum is the only remaining stadium in the NFL that is shared with a baseball team and will have infield dirt on it for the first two games. The Raiders spent much of the offseason debating where to play this year after Oakland officials sued the team over the move before finally deciding to come back to the Coliseum.SIDELINED STARThe Broncos will be missing top inside linebacker Todd Davis, who’s been sidelined since tearing a calf muscle on the first day of training camp July 18. Among the fill-ins are Corey Nelson, who played in Denver from 2014-17 and re-signed with the Broncos this week, and A.J. Johnson.

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