The Denver Broncos came down hard on their two executives facing drunken driving charges, suspending them without pay Monday 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 the two ‘‘will be punished and held accountable, our first priority is their health and well-being. We must ensure they receive any care they need and support them however possible,’’ 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.’’
The Broncos issued the penalties Monday after consulting with the NFL commissioner’s office, which informed them it has no plans to impose additional discipline.
However, both men still face legal ramifications for their actions that could affect their future employment with the Broncos.
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.
Ellis said he suspects the Broncos’ fortunes on the field won’t be affected by their front office troubles, however.
Heckert, who turns 46 this week, is a former general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns who had been working for the Broncos just 36 days when he was arrested.
The Denver Post reported Monday that a search of state records also revealed backup offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry was arrested May 19 in Arapahoe County on suspicion of drunken driving.
Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey apologized for wearing a baseball cap supporting former college teammate Aaron Hernandez.
Pouncey and his twin brother Mike, a center for the Miami Dolphins, were photographed wearing hats that read ‘‘Free Hernandez’’ during their co-birthday party in Miami on Saturday night.
Hernandez played at the University of Florida with the Pounceys from 2007-09.
Maurkice Pouncey posted on his Twitter account Monday he understands the ‘‘seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate.’’ Pouncey added he regrets making light of the situation and apologized if he offended anyone.
Byrd, Bills don’t agree
The Buffalo Bills failed to reach a long-term deal with free agent Pro Bowl 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 sides faced a Monday deadline to work out a long-term deal. He is the only remaining player who has not signed his franchise tender and can only play under a one-year contract as a result of missing the deadline . . . Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady, Peyton Manning’s blindside protector who cashed in by signing a five-year deal worth up to $57.5 million over the weekend, expects to be cleared by August after having surgery on his torn right labrum earlier this year . . . Quarterback Sage Rosenfels retired Sunday. The 10-year veteran started 12 games over 10 seasons with four teams.