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. jw

    @Jem, Did you fact check those famous drug-users? Google is not a proper way to do research. Just because a site says so and so used drugs doesn't make it so. George Washington grew marijuana as hemp there is no credible evidence that he ever smoked pot. Sigmund Freud is the most famous person sites promoting legalization trot out as a trojan horse. He abandoned it's use not long after the community of his peers identified/questioned it's addictive properties. Franklin used laudanum, alcohol and opium, and it was widely used at the time for pain relief.

    90%, again where did you get your facts, wiki? Not ruining lives, again what's your source for that? How many addicts in the news do you need?

    December 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yemini Cricket

    And Delorean fell for it because he was a dumbo, too.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. m harr

    Calling drug people kingpins or druglords is low class media hype!

    December 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • skywatcher43

      u right. just like "aficanized killer bees" "war on terror", and most things said on Foxnews..

      December 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shake Your Grooved Thang

      Wouldn't they technically be "African-Americanized Bees"?

      December 18, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. skywatcher43

    Dude should have got himself a Stringer Bell....and for 450 an ounce that must have been some serious schwag!!!!!!!! you hurd? And he kindof looks like Gus from Breaking Bad... But he definitely should be considered a "job creator" if he was moving that much weight, so lets bail him out!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyclobrown

      450 lbs.

      December 18, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • lou dogg

      Im pretty sure when you're buying 1000 pounds you get a price break.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      It was $450 a pound. That is a bit over $28 an ounce. Not kind bud, to say the least.

      December 20, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. NoodleHat

    Pants everywhere! Pants in my pants! Pants in my armpits! My nose is leaking.

    December 18, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. ThinkAgain

    This guy was playing football, his dream career, making decent money. Has a wife and baby. For all appearances, seemed happy, upbeat and a stand-up guy. I just don't understand how anyone could be a drug dealer, knowing that you're destroying so many lives. Greed and the adrenalin of doing something illegal got the better of him. I feel so sorry for his kid (and his wife, if she didn't know what was going on).

    December 18, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      "I just don't understand how anyone could be a drug dealer, knowing that you're destroying so many lives."

      "I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand."
      Al Capone

      December 20, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. flarnkingsgargle

    Some NFL players use marijuana after having their bodies destroyed by other 250-300 lb football players. WOW WHAT A STORY. In order, the war on drugs should be ended, Roger Goodell should smoke 420 fat blunts, and CNN should start reporting real news.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      The prohibition of marijuana is on borrowed time. All the polls show that the strongest support for legalization is among the younger people. Good riddance to bad law

      December 20, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      That being said, I doubt that these players (like anyone) would chose to smoke $450 a pound weed

      December 20, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. jj

    set up

    December 18, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Curt

    IF I had his kind of money.. First off I'd probably hire someone to grow my marijuana so it's not the cheap stuff he was going to buy 450$ a pound can't be the best....

    As for cocaine... Unless he's getting it form coca-cola I doubt the quality is all that either.

    December 18, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Curt

      Then again I guess this isn't for personal use for him...

      hey I smoke marijuana, will never stop til I die..... I don't care if humans destroy my life because its illegal.. .That's a fate I'm will to take.

      December 18, 2011 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
    • cyclobrown

      450 if you buy 1/2 ton at a time

      December 18, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Curt

    Besides marijuana use to be legal, I bet your great great grandfather and grandmother smoked it..


    December 18, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Curt

      Now go dance around at occupy wall street like a bunch of clowns!

      December 18, 2011 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • alf

      I'll take a clown over an idi0t junkie anytime!

      December 18, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • cyclobrown

      i heard the occupiers were all killer rapist bad asses. now you say they " dance around" which is it?

      December 18, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Eddie

    I see a lot of people comparing drugs to alcohol and cigarettes. But what's your angle? Are you saying drugs should be legal? If so, you need a better argument than "more people die from alcohol than drugs".

    Perhaps some of you may be right. They could try legalizing drugs and punishments for crimes related to drugs and alcohol should be severely harsh. I don't know what it will lead to, but what we have is not really working.

    On the other hand, what if pot replaces cigarettes. (For those who think nothing of it, driving can't possibly go well when high.) And cocaine can replace alcohol. We need a population decrease anyway. Though that could just lead to less people with jobs and more people in hospitals on the tax payer's bill. What a world we live in. And people still wonder why I don't want to bring kids into it.

    December 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • SAMBO

      Want your MD coming off a fat blunt just before he does surgery on your brain, heart, kidney or wee wee?? Big talkers I'd like to be in the operating suite

      December 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      Sambo, you make no sense. Do doctors get away with getting drunk right before a surgery? Think before you comment.

      December 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Eddie: What would be the issue with treating marijuana the same as alcohol under the law?

      December 20, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
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    December 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stantheman

    A long time ago, someone told me a smart black man always let ignorance stand in his way. Go figure.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
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