Chicago Bears

Hurd arrested on drug charges

613360.png

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.

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

howard.jpg
USA TODAY

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

The Bears' best offensive player won't be suiting up in Saturday's preseason game. In fact, he won't even be on the sideline. 

Jordan Howard suffered an eye injury Friday, preventing him from flying with the team to Arizona. 

Although ESPN's Adam Schefter believes it's minor, that's not a good sign for an offense that relies heavily on the run game.

Joining Howard on the inactive list are more key offensive guys: 

- Kyle Long, OL

- Jeremy Langford, RB

- Joshua Bellamy, WR

- Markus Wheaton, WR

That means Mike Glennon, who is embroiled in a growing quarterback controversy, will have his work cut out for him. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will also be missing some notables: 

- Danny Trevathan, LB

- Mitch Unrein, DL

- Bryce Callahan, DB

- Alex Scearse, LB

- Jonathan Anderson, LB

- Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL

Hopefully Howard and the team can get healthy before the real deal begins because last year's injury-plagued season was certainly no fun. 

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

8-18charleslenojr.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

One of John Fox’s favorite sayings is that the best ability is availability. No player exemplified that line more than left tackle Charles Leno Jr. in 2016. 

Leno played all 1,010 of the Bears’ offensive snaps last year. His effectiveness may not have matched his availability — Pro Football Focus, for what it’s worth, described Leno as being a “below average” starter. The Bears like Leno, though. But enough to give him another contract?

“He’s pretty reliable and dependable,” Fox said. “But we all have room for improvement so I think he’d tell you the same thing.”

For Leno, there’s no time like the present to make those strides. He’s due to hit free agency after this season, and, unless the Bears sign him to a contract extension, will enter a market that last spring saw five left tackles (Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, Russell Okung, Andrew Whitworth and Kelvin Beachum) sign contracts each including eight-figure guaranteed money. But Leno, who will be 26 this spring, isn’t doing a lot of thinking about what his future could look like beyond this year. 

“It’s in the back of your mind, but at the end of the day I’m trying to go out there and just perfect my craft,” Leno said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. I’ve been doing that the last two and a half years now. It’s the same routine every day. Just trying to go out there and perfect my craft, things will take care of itself. If I do what I need to do out there, everything will follow.”

For Leno, perfecting his craft means perfecting the basics of being a left tackle. What he rattled off: Placement of hands, base in pass set, staying square, not opening up too early. Being consistent in those areas is what Leno sees as that next step in his development. 

“I think Charles Leno does a really great job focusing attention to detail within his set,” left guard Kyle Long said. “Whether it’s a set angle, his hands or his strike, he always has a plan and he’s somebody that’s athletic enough to recover if he ever does get in a bad situation. It’s a really difficult position to play out there but I think Charles Leno is one of the most athletic guys that’s been around here.” 

Practice has provided an ideal opportunity for Leno to work on all those things, given the array of pass rushers he’s facing from his own defense. 

“I got a very fast guy (Leonard Floyd), I got a very tall, long guy (Willie Young), and I got a short, powerful guy (Lamarr Houston). I mean, what more do I need on a practice field? I got the best guys in the world to go against every day.”

But the point remains: Leno does have room for growth. A fully healthy Bears’ offensive line, with a more consistent Leno, can be one of the best units in the NFL on which the team’s level of production can be based. 

And if that’s the case, Leno can expect a significant payday next spring, either from the Bears or another team. 

“I never expected I would be in this situation, absolutely not,” Leno said. “I’m very blessed, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve got into. But also, it’s a testament to the work I’ve been putting in for myself and I just don’t ever want that to stop. I don’t ever want the work ethic that I have to ever go down because I’ve got some money or because I’m in a contract year. I want to keep improving whether I have the money or not.”