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. Matt

    I think this is more common than we might think. The average NFL career is somewhere around 4 years. Dealing drugs is like a super high-yield 401K plan.

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

      Probably true. How many wealthy athletes and entertainers have their own vodka labels? Basically the same thing, except ironically less lucrative to sell drugs.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. james

    You never know–Not guilty until proven however–Doesn't look good though–

    December 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Playjojo

    Pure arrogance. And stupidity.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. josh

    unless he was selling to kids, i could care less.

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

      Selling kids would be the lease of his problems.

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

      Dude, they always sell to kids. Ever seen a drug dealer who had an ethics policy?

      December 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay

      Well, did you hear about these psychopaths killing women and children at will in Mexico, also some Americans and border patrol? These murders are funded by anyone who purchases illegal drugs. So if your ignorant self cares about children, you would care about this.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      anchorite- you watch way too many movies NO they dont always sell to kids, MOST drug dealers would not want to sell to kids because kids cant keep there mouths shut. If consenting adults want to buy or sell "drugs" too each other I have no problem with that.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      clay--you are a riot! anyone who buys drugs supports killing on the mexico border thats the funniest dumbest thing i have heard in a while.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NJ Sam

    Is it me or is CNN stories getting more colorful?

    December 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J-Pap

    $450/pound is gonna be crap mexi swag.

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

      straight up dirt in a brick...lol

      December 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doing good while Black

    The top ways my fellow blacks can succeed in life:

    1) stay away from criminal activity.
    2) avoid producing children until at least the age of 27.
    3) avoid producing children out of wedlock.
    4) get married.
    5) stay in school until high school diploma is earned.
    6) go to college and graduate!
    7. stay well informed and educated by going to museums, reading, watching educational programing, etc.
    8) stop going to night clubs every night.
    9) avoid illegal drugs and excessive drinking.
    10) stop pursuing high-end luxury items you can't afford, i.e., Benzes and Bentleys.
    11) be a good, loyal and productive employee to your company (when you have a job!)
    12) be politically active and vote.
    13) stop blaiming whites and Jews for your life's problems.
    14) stay physically fit (too many fat black women in particular).
    15) eat a low fat, low sodium healthy diet.
    16) be more friendly toward others (it's ok to smile in photos of you and the family!)
    17) dress like you have some decency and class–no more baggy pants hanging off the butt for men and no overly
    tight revelaing clothes for women (especially the fat black women).
    18. stop getting into senseless fights (especially true in clubs).
    19. stop being loud, rude, and obnoxious in public.
    20. Stop loitering! (anywhere!)
    21. listen to music and other than hip hop (classical and opra is ok).
    22. stop supporting Tyler Perry's degrading stereotyping movies about black people.
    23. travel outside your city and even consider visiting another continent.
    24. stop embarassing our race in front of white people (supported by item #19)
    25. be faithful to your significant other (especially needed to be observed by black men).

    That's basically it.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      Sorry DOING GOOD WHILE BLACK -Good advice but this should be directed to all races.... because all races can be guility of this in today's society........

      December 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay


      December 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      Bill Cosby, is that you?

      December 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotty501

      You forgot the biggest one) STOP THE RAMPANT MURDER OF YOUR BROTHER, black on black crime is an epidemic not being addressed enough by black leaders. Kids, practically children are being shot at funerals of other kids. Drive by shooting, wanting to be a gangsta. Even some of the college athletes want the gangsta image.

      2) LEARN ENGLISH and if you dont please stop blaming your unemployment on discrimination. Despite rev al, the vast majority of white dont care what race you are as long as you dont look or act like a thug. i stopped riding the DC metro because of this.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Clay

    Never HURD of him

    December 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. wavejump1100

    why would someone making 685,000 a year legally, risk selling drugs? stupid thought he would never get caught. i personally dont think drugs should be illegal but they are. and yes some of the nicest people i know are drug dealers. but none of them are blessed with a career in the NFL or a six figure salary.

    its bad enough going to prison when you have a lousy life but to go from the top to the bottom sucks worse. i feel sorry for him. and i think americas drug laws are much too harsh.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaska

      I don't feel sorry for him, he made his bed now he can sleep in it.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    I guess his original supplier couldn't keep up with his demand of 450 lbs of pot and another 5-10kg of cocaine per week. He needs to go to jail for a long time and be glad he is not in some foreign country where the jails are a lot worst and could be sentenced to death for drug dealing. NFL should demand to know who the names are. The worst thing that could happen is to find out say after the Super Bowl that a few players on that team are drug users.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pb

    Why do the black athlete get pick on so much u got white athlete that do the same stuff n u got old man stick little boy but u worry bout drugs that some stuff the law force will never stop n why do white folks at like they so better than us black folks if they would give us black ppl a Jobs we wouldnt sell dope im not mad at sam hurd for trying to help his homie out but he could hand business a little different like make the side man mess wit it but u got white kingpin too they think all black folks all drugdealer but go check out atlanta n see all them black doctor

    December 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Hmm good point. Maybe it has something to do with your terrible grammar.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      First, you can't go through your life writing in SMS. Second, I think people are PLENTY outraged at Sandusky, and that will be a story long after the Hurd story dies away. If you don't see that, then you're just playing racist victim – to the gills.

      December 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BT

      "if they would give us black ppl a Jobs we wouldnt sell dope" LOL. You have to EARN a job, by getting an education (and learn to write well for pete's sake). getting skills and working for it. You aren't OWED anything, that kind of thinking is part of the problem to begin with. And hey guess what? Lots of people are unemployed and instead of selling dope (which to you is apparently and acceptable alternative), they are sending out resumes and trying to improve themselves by going back to school or updating their skills. Or... they could be like you, and blame everyone else, so typical...

      December 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. shannon g

    Who says drug dealers have to have a mean, or disrespectful demeanor. Don't stereotype.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cinnnj

    he watched "Superfly" too many times. fed time, homie. you done. you all done.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    > 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.

    Always nice when a reporter insults your intelligence. Wow, do you have a PhD in math from Harvard??? What a genius!!!!! Call NASA!!!! Shine up a Nobel medallion!!!!! Arrogant twit.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 222joco

    Makes you respect a guy like Tebow even more. What good is a player (even a great player) with bad character???

    December 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
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