Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas
Sam Hurd, seen here making a play earlier this season, was arrested in Rosemont, Illinois, on drug charges this week.
December 16th, 2011
08:03 PM ET

Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas

[Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET] Sam Hurd was released on a $100,000 cash bond late Friday afternoon.

His case will now be handled by the federal court for the Northern District of Texas. Hurd waived his probable cause hearing so his case will move to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict him, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sean Jensen, an NFL Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, told CNN that the Chicago Bears organization was blindsided by the arrest of one of the most "cordial, friendly and accountable" players in the clubhouse.

"Everybody throughout this building is shocked by this revelation the other day. The team didn't know anything of it until Thursday morning when Sam Hurd wasn't in the usual receiver meeting. That's when they started asking around and figuring out what happened," Jensen said.

[Posted at 3:49 p.m. ET] A judge granted Sam Hurd a $100,000 bail in a federal drug case that alleges the ex-Chicago Bears receiver conspired to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth or mairjuana and cocaine for distribution in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Judge Young B. Kim set the bail amount Friday afternoon hearing in federal court, where Hurd appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit with his feet chained together, the paper reported.

Hurd looked to the gallery, where his father and wife, Stacee, sat, as he entered the courtroom, the paper said. He spoke only to say “Yes, sir” to Kim’s questions.

[Posted at 3:23 p.m. ET] Bears GM Jerry Angelo announces the team has cut player Sam Hurd.

In defending their signing of Hurd, "We did everything we know to do in terms of our research, and there was nothing we heard that would present a real concern in the Sam Hurd case. ... We are very shocked about what we heard."

[Posted at 2:42 p.m. ET] Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is set to appear in court to request bail Friday afternoon, two days after a federal agent said he picked up a kilo of cocaine at a steakhouse, according to CNN affiliates.

Hurd’s arrest stunned players and reporters who know him, and it seems they’re not so much in disbelief over the arrest of a professional athlete on drug charges as they are over how the criminal complaint makes this seemingly swell fellow out to be the “Freeway” Ricky Ross of the Chi-town.

According to the complaint, Hurd, 26, whose base salary was $685,000 this year, met with a confidential informant and federal agent at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Rosemont, Illinois, on Wednesday.

There, the complaint says, he told the pair that he and another person were running 4 kilograms of cocaine into the Chicago area each week, but his supplier couldn’t keep up. He then allegedly worked out a deal to receive 5 to 10 kilograms of coke (at $25,000 apiece) and half a ton of marijuana (at $450 a pound) per week.

For the math-challenged, that’s a minimum of $575,000 worth of drugs. Every week.

After the negotiations, the undercover Homeland Security agent gave Hurd a kilogram of cocaine, according to the complaint, and Hurd told the agent “that he gets out of practice at approximately 5:30 p.m., after which he would make arrangements to pay for the kilogram of cocaine.”

The married father of one and ex-Dallas Cowboy then got into his car with the drugs and was promptly arrested, the complaint alleges.

His attorney, David Kenner, told several news outlets that his client was innocent, explaining to ABC News, “Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully. We have complete confidence in him.”

A law enforcement source told a Chicago radio station, 670 The Score, that Hurd was a top drug dealer in the Windy City and that police had a list of other NFL players to whom he sold drugs. The station offered few details, other than to quote the source as saying that the number of players involved was “in the double digits.”

ABC News reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, which would neither confirm nor deny the radio report. A representative said only that the criminal complaint leveled no such allegation.

'Well-liked in the locker room'

It seems anyone who has ever interviewed or played with Hurd is stunned. Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who has been coaching the 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver since July, when he signed with Chicago, called the arrest a “total surprise.”

Linebacker Lance Briggs told Chicago's Herald-News that Hurd was a “nice guy” and was “well-liked in the locker room.” Fellow all-pro linebacker Brian Urlacher added that Hurd was a friendly fellow who always said "hi" in the hallway.

“He’s a good teammate. That’s what I know of him. He comes to work every day and works hard. Outside of here, I don’t know him very well, but he comes to work every day and practices hard and plays hard. That’s all I know of him,” Urlacher told The Herald-News.

Joe Novak, the former coach for Northern Illinois University, where Hurd played from 2002 to 2005, told the newspaper he was “shocked, disappointed that things even come to this point.”

He added, “He was a great player. He really loved to practice and play the game. That was never a problem. He was a little immature at times, but that usually involved academics, where he needed a push and a prod.”

Hurd's former Cowboys teammates were reticent with The Dallas Morning News, but privately they told a reporter that Hurd, who married his college sweetheart (they had a daughter last year), is one of the last people they would expect to be linked to this sort of activity.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Potash said Hurd had recently gone above and beyond in an interview, explaining to Potash some of his teammates’ frustration with the offense. The interview extended past the mandatory player availability time, but Hurd didn’t seem to mind.

“But that's the kind of guy Sam Hurd is ... or was,” Potash wrote. “I've never met an athlete who was more happy to be alive.”

Sometimes Potash would tell Hurd that there was no way he could be as happy as he always looked, “and he would smile and say something about getting only one shot at life and making the most of it,” the reporter wrote.

Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN had a similar impression of Hurd, a man Taylor said had Scripture tattooed on his ribcage and often visited Taylor’s South Dallas church.

Late last season, Taylor heard him singing a gospel song in the Cowboys locker room. His crooning was off-key, “as usual,” and Taylor teased him.

Hurd responded, “God don’t care about your voice as long as you’re praising him,” Taylor wrote.

Taylor said Hurd was “one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” a guy he never heard curse, who had an incredible work ethic, who enjoyed video games and constantly picked teammate Terrell Owens’ brain for tips on how to get better.

“Of all the players I've met in 17 seasons of covering the Cowboys, Hurd never, ever would've popped up on my radar as an alleged drug dealer,” Taylor wrote. “Read the government’s affidavit, and the person described sounds nothing like the Hurd I've known since he arrived at the Cowboys' training camp in July 2006 as an undrafted free agent. That guy was a shy, likable, confident player who dedicated himself to making the team.”

Complaint paints different picture

Indeed, the criminal complaint makes Hurd sound more like a wannabe drug kingpin than a God-loving workhorse and all-around good guy.

According to the account from Homeland Security Special Agent George Ramirez, the case began in late July, during Hurd’s last days as a Dallas Cowboy.

A confidential informant told an agent in Dallas that an alleged associate of Hurd's, identified only as T.L., was trying to procure several kilograms of cocaine. The informant coordinated a meet in Dallas, and when T.L. neared the location, the Dallas County constable pulled him over for a routine traffic stop.

T.L. consented to a search of the car, the complaint says, and the officer found a white bag covered in marijuana containing $88,000. T.L., according to the complaint, said the money was Hurd’s.

He further explained that he had known Hurd for a long time and that he worked on his cars out of a repair shop in nearby Coppell. It wasn’t uncommon, he said, for Hurd to leave “large amounts of currency in his vehicles,” the complaint alleges.

Hurd later used T.L.’s phone to call Homeland Security agents and said the 88 grand was his, according to the agent’s statement.

On July 28, Hurd met Homeland Security agents and allegedly told them he had withdrawn and wired the money from a personal account three days prior, before putting the bag of money into the car and giving the keys to T.L. for maintenance work and detailing.

“Hurd subsequently provided (Homeland Security) agents with a bank statement that reflected withdrawals. However, a review of this statement revealed they did not reflect the transactions and amounts claimed by Hurd,” the complaint states.

In mid-August, the complaint continues, T.L. set up a deal with the informant for 5 kilograms of cocaine and arranged to meet after hours at a Firestone shop where he worked. The following day, police in Denton, Texas, informed Homeland Security that Hurd and T.L. had exchanged text messages with four people in California who had been arrested with drugs, money and guns.

“The text message content appeared to be consistent with narcotics trafficking and possible money laundering,” the complaint says.

On September 9, T.L. and the informant discussed a deal for 5 kilograms of cocaine, and T.L. allegedly said Hurd’s cousins would complete the transaction, according to the complaint. It’s unclear from the affidavit what came of the deal.

T.L. and the informant spoke again via telephone December 5, and T.L. said Hurd wanted to meet with the informant to discuss future business. The next day, the informant and T.L. met at a repair shop in Coppell, where T.L. called Hurd and gave the phone to the informant.

Hurd allegedly told the informant he would send his associates to Dallas. According to the complaint, Hurd first said he wanted 3 kilograms before changing it to 5.

After the call, T.L. explained how the deal would be conducted and said Hurd’s previous connection had supplied the wide receiver with $100,000 to $200,000 worth of narcotics a week, the complaint says.

The informant called Hurd two days later to say the cocaine wasn’t available, and Hurd said he wanted to discuss other business with the informant, according to the complaint. Hurd allegedly met with the informant and undercover agent at the steakhouse the following week, where, ABC News reports, they ate $300 worth of filet mignon.

Hurd told the informant and agent that his co-conspirator did the majority of the deals and that he “focuses on the ‘higher-end’ deals” before asking about Mexican mobile phones, which he believed police could not tap, according to the complaint.

The cocaine exchange and arrest followed.

What's next for Bears receiver

Hurd appeared in court Thursday, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Young Kim ordered that he remain in custody while his attorney works out with prosecutors the details of his release on bond, the Chicago Tribune reported.

If he is guilty of the single charge of possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute, he could go to prison for 40 years and pay a $2 million fine, News Talk 790 AM in Lubbock, Texas, reports.

But this isn’t his only legal woe. The Tribune reports that authorities plan to transfer Hurd to Dallas to face a count of conspiring to distribute more than half a kilogram of cocaine.

It’s unclear if the charges would affect his playing time. He told reporters Thursday he was still a Bear, “as far as I know.”

The Bears are fighting for a wildcard spot in a tight NFC Playoff race, and though Hurd has only eight catches for 109 yards this season, he contributes in other ways. He has long been a special teams force, leading the Cowboys in special teams tackles in 2009 and 2010.

Bears special teams coach Dave Toub told the Tribune, “He's the captain of our punt team. It's going to take a little bit to replace him. We're all shocked, just leave it at that.”

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Football • Illinois • Marijuana • Pro football • Sports • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (581 Responses)
  1. Benefit of the dumb

    All cyber judges, her ya!

    "All accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty"

    What ya think?!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mari

      He was just trying to make sure he has a secure job after he retires from the NFL! With the economy and all he must keep those options open you know! What a jacka**

      December 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chuck

    Some of the nicest people I've ever met are drug dealers. Some of the worst people I've ever met are car dealers.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • damn

      Lol, that's what's up.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Doing good while Black

    I'm a black man and DMC19 could not have said it any better and I fully accept his opinion and views no matter what his race is. It is all so true. Damn true! I too lived in ghettos and had a single mother on welfare for times in my life. However, I watched closely how my mother pull us out of poverty with education and hard work. As a teenage, I was approached several times to sell drugs by inner-city friends who were taking advantage of the then new crack cocain craze of the mid-1980's making lots of money selling this new poison to fellow blacks. I didn't say no and I didn't say yes. I just walked away and continued my education and went on to college to earn two college degrees and now 25 years later, I am still a very successful non-criminal productive citizen. Why? Why? Why? are so many of my fellow blacks so afraid of education and real jobs? Why is the thug criminal lifestyle so attractive and important to them?

    December 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renelda Moorehead

      My aren't you sanctimonious? You sound as if you know every reason for every lifestyle choice. And what the heck does"I didn't say yes, and I didn't say no," mean? You ARE from the hood, Mr. SLICK-WITH-A-DEGREE. Brotha,
      sounds to me like you've been WHITICIZED in your criticism toward our people. But I'll bet You LOVE OBAMA.
      Can't see his gansta, can you? I am sorry for Sam Hurd. We don't KNOW what drove his demons. I'm going to pray
      for BOTH of you.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skooter

      Very well stated!! No matter what the race, kids (or everyone for that matter) need an education for any chance at a better life. You don't see a lot of old drug lords, just dead ones.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Schwendler

      Well, sir, broken families know no color line. If there aren't strong legal guardians at home to show and lead the way, then folks start taking shortcuts, because they don't know any better. The prospect of easy cash, lots of it, off the streets is much more inviting than staying in school, getting a job, and settling into life's hard routines. That is just my own theory. Whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, whomever, all fall under the same spell of easy money. Education is they key. Being able to look at, and live with yourself, every day in the mirror is also key.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMC19

      Doing good - I applaud you, and especially your mom, for working yourselves out of a tough situation, and valuing hard work and making good choices, instead of taking the easy way out. You set a great example, hopefully more will follow in your footsteps.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      I don't think you're being sanctimonious AND you don't know what drove Hurd to do this. I agree with you that education is the way to a better life. Renelda Moorehead's comment about being "whiticized" reminds me of what I heard Spike Lee say at a film makers' forum/presentation right before the release of "Malcolm X." He told the black members of the audience to not do poorly in school because of fear of being called "white." Being educated is just that: educated, it doesn't belong to any race. To think otherwise is to perpetuate stereotypes and to fail in school only hurts yourself.

      Hurd made some very bad choices. I think greed also drove him. Both of which people of all races do all the time.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      Renelda Moorehead, why does someone have to be "gangsta" to be black? You're just perpetuating the stereotypes that music videos present. A person's content of their character matters more – and if you truly believe in living beyond racial prejudice, then people can be whatever they are, regardless of race. Of course, that means you actually have to get to know someone before you can make up your mind about them ....

      December 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ambassador Spock

    I guess Tony Dungy will be assigned by Goddell to babysit Hurd too while he's rotting? I hope not. Tony can be doing more useful things with youths who aren't as completely clueless as Hurd.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. slowpoke

    Sounds pretty bad but we all know the Feds like to make things seem worse than they are. Lets wait for the end verdict before we call him guilty.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • mari

      I don't think you can call Homeland Security the Feds. I am still confusd as to why it was Homeland and not FBI or DEA

      December 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kilgore Trout

    Heyba manba whatba youba dubing?

    December 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ambassador Spock

    Once a thug....

    December 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AC Summers

    It sounds as if Hurd was set up..Fed, associates, and informants..."Given" a kilo w/o paying for it by a Fed... too much reasonable doubts..

    December 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ambassador Spock

    *puts autographed Sam Hurd rookie card up on ebay*

    December 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AC Summers

    Feds can put a case on anyone they want...and get anybody to become an informant and set someone else up..The accused can not do anything about it. Can't sue the fed government, you have to pay fines, and in most fed cases the accused in always found guilty to some degree.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. malcolm

    sorry, it ain't possible nobody knew...

    December 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Don_J

    "Ex-Bear Sam Hurd to be freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas"... OK, so is he or isn't he still on the team? C'mon (CNN) Man!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Rosemont is a nice place. I don't understand with all the money this player makes, that there's a need for drugs.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D Gannon

    They always are a "good guy"

    December 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JMonaghan

    Wish I could buy good weed for $450 a lb.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
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