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Tom Heckert Womens Eli Manning Jersey , 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 Michael Dickson Color Rush Jersey ," 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, 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."

The Los Angeles Kings believe they are still Stanley Cup contenders, even after being swept by the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. How close they are to that goal might be reflected in how negotiations go with defenseman Drew Doughty this summer.

General manager Rob Blake said Friday that working out a contract extension with Doughty is the team’s top priority. The Kings and Doughty can begin holding talks on July 1, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season.

”I always wanted to be an LA King and I want to stay an LA King,” Doughty said.

Doughty is one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy presented to the league’s top defenseman after winning it in 2016. He had 10 goals and 50 assists in his most productive NHL season yet, but Doughty believes he can still improve his scoring output.

”I wasn’t too happy with my goal totals this year,” Doughty said. ”I think I only maybe scored one or two one-timer goals, which in my career probably half of my goals are one-timer goals, so I was pretty disappointed about that this year. I can definitely improve on that and have an even better season and hopefully set some new career-highs.”

The Kings scored just three goals in four games against the Golden Knights. Developing a more reliable offense is the one glaring weakness that needs be addressed, and lifting the Stanley Cup for the third time is a reasonable goal provided it gets solved going into next season.

”Everybody is still here that was here in ’14 and almost in ’12 for that matter, too, so we’re not that far off,” center Anze Kopitar said. ”It’s going to take a lot of work, yes, but we’re not far off.”

CAREER YEARS

Kopitar set personal bests with 35 goals and 57 assists while averaging a career-high 22:05 of playing time. His 92 points represented a 40-point improvement over his lackluster 2016-17, leading Kopitar to joke he is ”aging like wine.” Dustin Brown had 61 points to top his previous high of 60 set in 2007-08, his fourth season in the league. Doughty broke free with 60 points after reaching the 50-point plateau once in the previous seven seasons. Doughty’s usual defensive partner Aleksander Barkov Jersey , Jake Muzzin, had 42 points. Even depth forward Trevor Lewis got into the act with 26 points and 14 goals in his most productive campaign.

FORWARD THINKING

Rookie Adrian Kempe was fourth on the team with 16 goals despite not finding the back of the net in the final 29 games of the regular season. Stepping in at center when Jeff Carter missed 55 games following surgery to repair a cut tendon in his ankle, Kempe showed a surprising toughness to go along with his natural quickness. If Kempe can continue to develop, he could decrease the reliance on Kopitar, who will be 31 when next season starts, and the 33-year-old Carter.

”I’m pretty sure he’ll be the first one to tell you he can offer more, and that’s a learning process,” Kopitar said. ”That’s his first full year in the league. Speaking from experience, it takes a little bit of time to figure out your routines and what’s working for you and what’s not.”

LOOKING FOR DEPTH

Short of dealing in the offseason, the Kings should return essentially the same roster next season. Speedy forward Tobias Rieder is a restricted free agent, and Torrey Mitchell is an unrestricted free agent. The 25-year-old Rieder showed some chemistry with Carter, posting four goals and two assists in 20 games. Defensemen Christian Folin and Kevin Gravel are both unrestricted free agents.

HOME IMPROVEMENT NEEDED

The Kings went 23-15-3 at home, the second-fewest wins by a playoff team. It seemed like they were getting better as the season went on, going 9-4-0 down the stretch, only to lose both home playoff games and fall to 0-5 at Staples Center in their last two postseasons. Their 118 goals at home in the regular season was tied for 21st in the NHL. The power play contributed 25 percent of that output, underscoring the need for 5-on-5 improvement.

COMING ATTRACTION

Clearly in need of more contributors on offense, center Gabriel Vilardi could be an option for the Kings next season. Selected No. 11 overall in the 2017 draft, Vilardi has been a force in the OHL playoffs with 11 goals and nine assists in his first 12 postseason games. Vilardi also has the size and 200-foot game that fit a Kings team that still emphasizes defense.

10-12-2018, 01:53 AM
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