Day after drug dealing bombshell, Bears cut Sam Hurd
At about the same time a federal judge ordered Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd to post a full cash bond of $100,000 to be released from custody after being arrested in charges of attempting to distribute large amounts of cocaine, the franchise made him an ex-Bear.
The Bears placed the veteran on waivers Friday afternoon, cutting ties with him a little more than four months after signing him to a $4.15 million, three-year contract that paid Hurd about $2 million this season, money he may have used to prop up his alleged drug empire.
Hurd was arrested Wednesday night when he took a kilogram of cocaine from undercover officers. In a criminal complaint, authorities allege Hurd was looking to begin purchasing up to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week.
It was a shocking story that stunned those at Halas Hall, who said they had no way of knowing. General manager Jerry Angelo, speaking on the issue for the first time Friday, was disturbed.
“When we do our homework on players, we have a very sound and tested methodology that we go about researching all players in college to veteran free agents and it starts in college,” Angelo said. “We spend an inordinate amount of time on character, making sure we know the player as well as we can.
“But no system is foolproof. For me to say we should have known something that we didn’t know, I can’t say that in this case. There’s no foundation for anybody to say that. There are no facts, there are no flags that anybody could present tangibly to say we should have known otherwise. I want to make that perfectly clear to the public, to our fans. We do our homework, we do our due diligence. We did everything you could possibly do given the information that we can allocate.”
Angelo said sometimes there are glitches but in this case the team had no idea and no way of learning that Hurd was questioned about $88,000 that was seized from one of his vehicles in Texas the day before he signed with the Bears. At that time, authorities allege Hurd was seeking to purchase four kilograms of cocaine. But Hurd was not charged by authorities and the Bears maintain they had no knowledge of the ongoing undercover operation that nabbed Hurd Wednesday at a suburban steakhouse.
Asked if Hurd’s shocking arrest will impact his future, Angelo snapped at a reporter.
“Whistle Dixie,” he said.
Asked if he could be sure Hurd’s criminal activity would not involve any teammates, Angelo said he couldn’t
“I can’t talk about that,” he said. “I’m certainly not going on any witch hunts here about players. The one thing that we’ve done when there’s been a wrong, we’ve acted. We don’t just justify wrongs and we’ve acted. We have a track record of doing that. Unfortunately, a situation arose that caught us off guard, but not to the point where we aren’t going to do the right thing, and the right thing is to cut Sam Hurd.”
Rumors have circulated that Hurd had a client list that included other NFL players and teammates. No mainstream media outlet has originated those reports, and Hurd’s lawyer Brett Greenfield told reporters that was false.
“With respect to the rumors that he has been supplying drugs to other members of the NFL, out of respect to the NFL, out of respect to his teammates and other players, he 100 percent denies that allegation,” Greenfield said. “It is patently and totally false."
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune