The Eagles were saddened to learn that former general manager Tom Heckert passed away Sunday night at the age of 51. He stepped down from his position as a senior personnel advisor with the Denver Broncos following the 2017 season due to an ongoing battle with amyloidosis.
"We are saddened to learn of Tom Heckert's passing," Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said. "Tom gave everything he had to this organization for nine years 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."
Heckert was hired by the Eagles in 2001 as the team's director of player personnel. In his first draft, the following year, the Eagles selected three Pro Bowl players, including Eagles Hall of Fame running back Brian Westbrook. Heckert was promoted to vice president of player personnel in 2003 and general manager in 2006.
The Eagles went to the playoffs seven times in Heckert's nine seasons in Philadelphia. They won five division titles, made five appearances in the NFC Championship Game, and played in Super Bowl XXXIX.
"Tom came to Philly in 2001 and made an instant impact on and off the field," Howie Roseman said. "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."
Looking for a bigger role, Heckert went to Cleveland to become the Browns' general manager in 2010 and joined the Broncos in 2013 where two years later they won the Super Bowl. Roseman will never forget the photo that Heckert sent to him after Denver won.
A native of Adrian, Michigan, Heckert was a graduate of Hillsdale College where he played defensive back and was an assistant coach for two years after his playing career ended. Heckert sought to advance in the coaching profession but landed a job as an unpaid scouting intern before the 1991 NFL Draft in Miami where his father, Tom Sr., was a personnel executive.
"I was around the football field and football offices probably more than I was home," Heckert said of growing up with his dad, who spent 20 years in the NFL personnel ranks. "I was always there. After school, I'd watch his practices. We'd go to every game. When I was really young, he'd be upstairs in his office working, and I'd just watch tape because it was there."
Heckert was brought on full time following that draft as a pro scout which launched his NFL career.
Heckert's father passed away two years ago. Among the surviving family members are Heckert's mother, Rose; his former wife, Kathy; and two children - a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Madison.