Bears WR Hurd facing federal drug charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was in federal custody Thursday, charged with trying to set up a drug-dealing network after authorities arrested him with a kilogram of cocaine during a sting.
Hurd was arrested Wednesday night after meeting with an undercover agent at a Chicago restaurant, according to a criminal complaint that says the player was first identified as a potential drug dealer over the summer as the NFL lockout was coming to an end.
Hurd told the agent that he was interested in buying five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area, the complaint said. He allegedly said he and a co-conspirator already distribute about four kilos of cocaine every week, but their supplier couldn’t keep up with his demands.
Hurd told the agent “his co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals” while he focused on “higher-end deals,” the complaint said. He agreed to pay $25,000 for each kilogram of cocaine and $450 a pound for the marijuana, according to the charges, and then said he could pay for a kilo of cocaine after “he gets out of practice.” He walked out of the restaurant with the package and was arrested.
The NFL said it was looking into the incident and the Bears said they were gathering details about what happened.
“We are disappointed whenever these circumstances arise. We will deal with them appropriately once we have all the information,” the team said in a statement.
Hurd was scheduled to make his initial court appearance later Thursday. It wasn’t immediately known whether he had an attorney and his agent, Ian Greengross, did not return a message. The NFL Players Association declined to comment.
Teammates said they were stunned.
“It’s a situation that you don’t, I don’t, want anybody to be in, especially a close friend, a teammate that I’ve been playing with now for four or five years,” said wide receiver Roy Williams, who played with Hurd in Dallas before being reunited on the Bears this year. “Especially a guy from Texas with a wife and a daughter. … I know it has to be tough for him because he has his family.”
Linebacker Brian Urlacher said it’s sad for Hurd, who he called a good teammate and good guy. But he said it won’t affect the team’s play.
“Football-wise it’s not going to be an issue,” Urlacher said. “We’ll go out there and practice like we do every day and hopefully put it behind us when Sunday gets here.”
Hurd, a 26-year-old native of San Antonio who played college ball at Northern Illinois, played for five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and is in his first season with the Bears. He has contributed mostly on special teams, playing in 77 games overall with six starts and two career touchdowns. He has played in 12 games this year, catching eight passes for 109 yards.
The complaint says an informant tipped off authorities in Texas in July, leading to an investigation in which an unidentified acquaintance of Hurd’s “negotiated” for approximately five kilograms of cocaine on the player’s behalf. The acquaintance wanted to buy the drugs quickly to take it to a “northern destination that same day,” the complaint said.
The Bears agreed to a three-year deal with Hurd reportedly worth up to $5.15 million, including a $1.35 million signing bonus and base pay this season of $685,000.
The agreement was announced on July 29 — the day after federal authorities say he had agreed to a “consensual interview” with Homeland Security investigators over $88,000 in cash that had been seized in a car he owned in the Dallas area. The money was inside a canvas bag that authorities said was covered in a plant-like material that tested positive for “properties of marijuana.”
The acquaintance told authorities that Hurd “routinely leaves large amounts” of money in his vehicles, while Hurd said the money was indeed his and that he had given the car to his acquaintance, a car shop employee, for maintenance and detail work.
Hurd showed authorities a bank statement he said showed he had withdrawn $88,000 from his account, but authorities said it did “not reflect the transactions and amounts” he claimed.
Linebacker Lance Briggs said the team was going to focus on practice and Sunday’s home game against Seattle.
“You hate to see this happen to anyone. That’s just it. We all make mistakes,” Briggs said. “You don’t go through a football season without distractions. Distractions are expected. This is a game where we’re professionals and you have to approach it that way.
“There’s a sports side, there’s a business side and then there’s a personal side. And, when it comes to business as a professional, you have to take care of business.”
AP Sports Writer Rick Gano in Lake Forest, Ill., contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.