Hurd arrested on drug charges

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Hurd arrested on drug charges

Updated: 4:17 p.m.

Associated Press
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 couldnt 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 wasnt 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.

Its a situation that you dont, I dont, want anybody to be in, especially a close friend, a teammate that Ive 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 its sad for Hurd, who he called a good teammate and good guy. But he said it wont affect the teams play.

Football-wise its not going to be an issue, Urlacher said. Well 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 Hurds negotiated for approximately five kilograms of cocaine on the players 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 Sundays home game against Seattle.

You hate to see this happen to anyone. Thats just it. We all make mistakes, Briggs said. You dont go through a football season without distractions. Distractions are expected. This is a game where were professionals and you have to approach it that way.

Theres a sports side, theres a business side and then theres a personal side. And, when it comes to business as a professional, you have to take care of business.

Bears establishing smash-mouth core with Jordan Howard

Bears establishing smash-mouth core with Jordan Howard

Eric Kush was in some pain after the Bears win over the San Francisco 49ers. But it was a “good” pain, particularly since part of it was inflicted by a teammate.

The teammate was running back Jordan Howard, and the Bears left guard was learning along with his linemates that when Howard is coming, “he’s a-comin’,” Kush said.

“Oh man, sometimes you’re, ‘[groan-groan-groan], and he’ll hit you right in the back, you fall and try to take your guy down with you and stick him in the snow so you’re not the only one getting soaking wet and cold. But Jordan’s a lot fun and we try to kick some butt for him.”

The rookie running back has become more than simply a draft nugget from the fifth round of this year’s draft. Howard has established himself as an integral part of a winning formula of complimentary football, the concept long favored by John Fox, Lovie Smith and coaches who operate from the foundation of a premier running game, impact defense and solid special teams.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The Bears’ three wins have come this season in the only games in which Howard has been given 20-plus carries: 23 vs. Detroit, 26 vs. Minnesota, 32 vs. San Francisco. Add to those the 3 pass receptions against the Lions and the 4 against the Vikings and the true centerpiece of the 2016 Bears offense is more than a little apparent.

For obvious reasons beyond simply the rushing numbers.

“Especially pass protection,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “I think he's taken a big jump that way. When you're young in this league, those are the things that can get grey for you. You run the football, he's obviously a talented player there, but in pass pro, he's made his biggest growth.”

As a corollary to Howard, San Francisco was only the second game this season in which the Bears called fewer than 30 pass plays (the only other time was at Green Bay, when the Bears only ran a total of 45 plays, 27 of them pass plays). In that respect, the snow was viewed as an ally by some in the locker room who have been unhappy at the run:pass balance, which was just 36-percent-run coming into the 49ers game.

“It was one of these games where, with the weather, we couldn’t pass the ball like we normally do —  30 times — so we had to keep it on the ground,” said one member of the offense.

Howard’s breakout game as an NFL ball carrier came against the Lions (23 carries, 111 rushing yards, 3 receptions). The Bears, looking for a breakout of their own in the form of a first two-game win streak in more than a year, are expected to keep it simple — and in Howard’s hands.

“I always expected a lot out of myself,” Howard said. “I didn’t really think that things would happen maybe this soon or this fast. I’m definitely grateful for it.”

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.