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September 13th, 2018, 2:12 am #1

Tom Heckert Reggie Nelson 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 Vincent Valentine Jersey ," 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 Forrest Lamp Jersey , 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."
Jaylen Samuels smiled at the question. It’s not the first time he’s been asked where exactly he fits on the football field.
The answer during Samuels’ time at North Carolina State depended on when you asked him.
Tight end? Fullback? Tailback? Wide receiver? Safety? At some point, the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie played them all for the Wolfpack.
He doesn’t see that being an issue in the NFL. At least not in Pittsburgh anyway. The Steelers made it clear when they called him on the final day of the draft last month and told him they were taking him in the fifth round.
Samuels is a running back. And only a running back. For now anyway. Yet even as he explains his comfort level in a room that’s currently missing Le’Veon Bell – who is skipping organized team activities while waiting to sign his one-year franchise tender – Samuels also tips his hand. He might not be done moving around the field just yet.
”I’m also in the slot, playing a little bit of that position, being able to run some routes, catch some balls in the slot, outside, wherever they want me Marcus Cannon Jersey ,” Samuels said on Wednesday.
Sounds an awful lot like what the Steelers ask Bell to do. Of course, Bell is a three-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro and one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. Samuels is none of those things. He’s just a 21-year-old trying to find his way and hardly the only one in a backfield that is wide open behind Bell.
Former Pitt star James Conner showed flashes as a rookie last fall before a knee injury ended his season. Stevan Ridley arrived in December as a stopgap and did enough to earn a one-year deal for 2018. Fitzgerald Toussaint remains on the fringe of the picture too. Jarvion Franklin and James Summers are unknowns.
Bell’s long-term status is uncertain. He says he wants to be in Pittsburgh for the duration of his career. The Steelers do too. And yet if the two sides don’t reach an agreement on a new contract by the mid-July deadline, 2018 will almost certainly be Bell’s last year with the Steelers.
While Conner and Samuels are saying the right things – that the starting job is Bell’s whenever he shows up and for as long as he’s on the roster – both understand the opportunity the extra snaps created by Bell’s absence offers.
So does their quarterback.
”This is a big time for James with some of the injuries that he had last year and learning last year,” Ben Roethlisberger said. ”I think this will be really good for him to get as many reps as possible.”
Though Conner remains a work in progress in the passing game, Samuels has wasted little time proving he knows what he’s doing when he lines up as a receiver. During a 2-point conversion drill on Wednesday, he hauled in a beautiful catch over a linebacker for a conversion, a grab that earned a roar from the sideline.
”It wasn’t nothing new for me,” Samuels said with a shrug.
Not by a longshot. Samuels set a school record by catching 202 passes at N.C. State, and his 47 touchdowns rank second all-time in program history. He believes he has a ”knack” for getting over the goal line, and whenever the Wolfpack would get inside the opponent’s 20 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Jersey , offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz has a special section on his playcall sheet just for Samuels.
”It was just `JaySam’ plays,” Samuels said. ”Just for whenever he wanted me to get the ball. If it was third down, fourth down, he’d just put me in the backfield and put me in the slot and try to get me the ball.”
Yet Samuels is just as comfortable lining up behind the quarterback too, a transition that began in earnest during his final season with the Wolfpack. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry in 2017 and ran for 12 touchdowns despite averaging just six rushes per game.
At 6-feet and 225 pounds, he considers himself a power guy with a dash of breakaway ability thrown in for good measure.
Still, NFL scouts didn’t quite know what to make of him. He worked out with the tight ends at the draft combine, doing just two drills with the running backs. He thinks that’s one of the reasons he was still there in the fifth round waiting for his name to be called. Getting passed over bothered him. More than a little.
”I felt disrespected going as late as I did,” Samuels said. ”But that’s just going to be motivation for me.”
No matter where – or when – he lines up.
NOTES: The Steelers and third-round pick Mason Rudolph agreed to a four-year deal on Wednesday, leaving first-round pick Terrell Edmunds as the only selection yet to sign. … Roethlisberger was not on the field Wednesday.

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