LAKE FOREST – Sam Hurd’s locker at Halas Hall looked the same as always Thursday.
A blue practice jersey with No. 81 printed on the front hung from the left side of Hurd’s locker. A pair of orange practice shorts dangled from a hook on the opposite side.
The only thing missing was Hurd.
In news that stunned Bears coaches and players, Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges Wednesday after he allegedly bought a kilogram of cocaine from an undercover agent at a Chicago-area restaurant. Hurd was interested in buying 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area, the complaint said.
A federal judge ordered Hurd to be held pending bond and said Hurd would need to return to Texas during a hearing Thursday in a Chicago court. Hurd was handcuffed and wore a gray T-shirt and jeans as marshals led him to the hearing, which was continued until today.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team first learned about Hurd’s arrest after the wide receiver did not report for morning meetings. Hurd was in the first season with the Bears after spending the previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
“I am in shock over it,” Smith said. “I never saw it coming.”
According to a federal affidavit that detailed the charges, Hurd told the agent that he and a co-conspirator already were distributing about 4 kilos of cocaine a week but could not keep up with demands. He agreed to pay the agent $25,000 per kilo of cocaine and $450 per pound of marijuana, which could have added up to $700,000 a week in drug purchases.
The complaint said an informant tipped off authorities in Texas in July regarding the activities of Hurd and an acquaintance. A day after Hurd allegedly agreed to talk to authorities about $88,000 that had been seized from a car that he owned in the Dallas area, he signed a three-year deal with the Bears reportedly worth up to $5.15 million.
As of Thursday evening, Hurd remained on the Bears’ roster. Yet his NFL career paled in comparison to the possibility of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than half a kilogram of cocaine.
Bears wide receiver Roy Williams was one of Hurd’s closest friends on the team. The pair played together for three seasons in Dallas before signing with the Bears this summer.
“I’m just shocked about the situation,” Williams said. “It’s a situation that I don’t want anyone to be in, especially a close friend or a teammate I’ve been playing with now [for] four or five years now – especially a guy from Texas with a wife and daughter.
“It’s tough for me just because I’m not into drugs or anything like that. But I know it has to be tough for him because he has his family. That’s a choice that he made, and there’s consequences with the choices that you make.”
Bears special teams coach Dave Toub was downcast as he discussed Hurd’s arrest. Hurd started on all four phases of special teams and was the punt team captain.
“We’re all in a state of shock right now,” Toub said.
During training camp, Hurd told the Northwest Herald that he was thrilled to return to the Chicago area. Hurd played for the Northern Illinois Huskies from 2002-05, catching 143 passes for 2,322 yards and 21 touchdowns during his college career.
“It’s always been my second home,” Hurd said.
It didn’t take long for Hurd to fit in with his new teammates.
“The guys here are great guys,” Hurd said. “They have a great tradition and they work hard.
“That’s all I want to bring to the table. I want to work hard, bring some good leadership, and just come out here and be the best I can be.”
• The Associated Press contributed to this story.