What was Sam Hurd of the Bears thinking when he told an undercover federal agent that he wanted to buy five to 10 kilos (10-20 pounds) of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week?
Hurd was arrested in the parking lot of a Chicago steakhouse on Wednesday night after accepting one kilo of cocaine and putting it in his car. He’s charged with attempting to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Hurd signed with the Bears during the offseason, getting a contract that could have paid him more than $4 million. The minimum salary for a fifth-year player is $685,000, which is what he was getting this season after receiving a $1.3 million signing bonus. Yet he wanted to gamble that, gamble his freedom, gamble his health … on selling drugs.
By all accounts, according to his Bears teammates, Hurd was a nice guy. But he, or his friends, were so greedy that they simply couldn’t stay away from the allure of the streets. Hurd told the agent that led the sting against him that his partner handled most of the drug trafficking, but that he handled the “higher-end deals.” A Chicago radio station reported that a list of Hurd’s clients included numbers in the double digits that are NFL players.
Having played in Dallas for four years, and now in Chicago, that list conceivably could include players from two of the league’s higher-profile teams, athletes from the Cowboys and Bears. If indeed players were buying and using drugs, what does that say about the NFL’s drug testing policy? Lately, nobody has been named as a drug abuser according to the system. But Onterrio Smith of the Vikings used a Whizzinator several years ago, and similar devices are still being used to circumvent the tests.
Hurd was thought of as the classic great athlete that makes it to the NFL. He was a three-sport star in high school in San Antonio, and was good enough at Northern Illinois to get noticed and make the Cowboys. It was apparently in Dallas where Hurd got into business, and it was through a North Texas supplier that he was attempting his latest buy. Hurd allegedly told the federal informant that he was selling four kilos of cocaine a week in Chicago, and needed more.
Sure, Hurd could have become a big-money drug dealer in Chicago, and made more money than he could have ever dreamed of making in the NFL. But didn’t he realize what the consequences could be? Did he have no idea that he might get caught? Apparently not. Many 26-year-old football players see themselves as invincible, and this one did.
Not only did Hurd get caught, but he may be taking a bunch of NFL players down with him, at least in the court of public opinion. One guy has given an entire league, and every player in the NFL a bad name cast suspicion upon them. He won’t likely play in the NFL again, but if Sam Hurd does, I bet he’s an outcast in his own locker room, and as a special teams ace, a target on game day.