Chicago Sun-Times

Happy-go-lucky Sam Hurd was a card: a one-eyed Jack

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In his last interview before being arrested on federal drug charges, Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd gave no indication he was about to run afoul of the law.

Because Hurd knows all three wide receiver positions in the Mike Martz's offense, he was a "go-to" guy on anything involving the receivers, even though the special-teams standout was used sparingly on offense.

So with Earl Bennett struggling to connect with Caleb Hanie as he had with Jay Cutler, I asked Hurd if it was more difficult for an inexperienced quarterback to find a guy like Bennett, whose expertise is finding the cracks and seams in a defense rather than just beating his man off the line.

''No. It's tougher for a quarterback that hasn't worked with that person,'' Hurd told the Sun-Times on Wednesday in the Bears locker room. ''It's tougher if you don't have a feel for what he likes and does all the time, and [if] you're not going with him [in practice reps] all the time.

''That's tough, to find him and throw to the spot that you're supposed to -- that's what quarterbacks do.''

Hurd's explanation was that all quarterbacks, whether it be Hanie or Cutler, rookie Nathan Enderle or veteran Josh McCown, need more than a few practices to get that timing and familiarity down. Certainly the year-and-a-half it has taken Cutler to get in a groove is evidence of that.

''That's why we have OTAs [offseason workouts, which were cancelled last summer because of the lockout],'' Hurd told me. ''Otherwise you could just jump right into the season and play. But you need these practices to get timing down; to understand that I'm a different speed than Earl. And Earl's a different speed than Johnny [Knox]. And everybody's a different speed, different turns, different steps, everything. [The quarterback has to] time up with everybody.''

But Hurd also noted that once a quarterback starts to get in sync with his receivers, it can click at any moment.

''It can happen real quick,'' he said. ''Once they're back on, there's nothing that can stop them, either.''

Hurd said he understands the frustration, but noted it's important that receivers like Bennett are doing the little things that go with the job. Roy Williams, for instance, had a key downfield block that helped Marion Barber score a touchdown on a nine-yard run against the Broncos last week.

''It could be frustrating for Caleb, for everybody,'' Hurd said. ''You want perfection. You want everything to go right. And if it doesn't, that's what happens. But it's football. Everything's not going to be perfect. You can't [just] look at [receiving yards]. You've got to make sure you're 100 percent in everything you do -- not just getting the ball and making something happen, but blocking, running the right routes, helping out another player -- that's what it's all about.''

Hurd's explanation took us past the "open-lockerroom" time when players are available to the media. But that's the kind of guy Sam Hurd is ... or was. I've never met an athlete who was more happy to be alive. ''There's no way you can always be as happy as you look,'' I would tell him. And he would smile and say something about getting only one shot at life and making the most of it. I always thought that was a great quality about Sam Hurd. But maybe not.

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This thing is so bizarre...as you allude to, from all the interviews I have seen/read etc. Even during his time with Dallas he seemed like such a good guy... I know we are all innocent til proven guilty...but .... just too bad for his family/daughter

Sean, has anyone been able to confirm they got Hurd on "tape" with all this ?

Yeah, he's a real card. One-eyed jacks are occasionally wild, but that someone already making his kind of money needs supplemental income is, as Dabearsk says, "bizarre."

Maybe Hurd seemed happy because he was high on coke.

What baffles me is the audacity and the absurdity of this guy, even going as far as identifying himself as a Bears player to his supplier. What makes him think that he can get away with all this?

This is pure speculation, but I think that this explains why he signed with the Bears. He saw Chicago as fertile ground for his drug ring, and Chicago is the "northern destination" as described by his associate.

Lovie Smith said: ‘‘Anyone we bring through here — we had extensive search to find out everything." If that was the case, how did they end up with Hurd and Tank Johnson? This is what Lovie Smith and the Bears call extensive background check?

A simple background check would have alerted them to the fact that police discovered $88,000 in cash and marijuana in Hurd's car a day before his signing. If the Bears did not consider this a red flag, then I don't know what would constitute a red flag to them. Who, except drug dealers, would carry that much cash around?

If Tank Johnson was a "black eye" to Jerry Angelo, then Sam Hurd should serve as a "knock out punch" for him.

Mr. Angelo, if you haven't thought about retirement before, are you thinking about it now? Well, you should think about it. Think hard about it.

They got him on tape from what has been written and they have him excepting a kilo of coke.

Sean just a couple of thoughts, either Hurd is drug dealer retarded or he was desperate. He already had a source, and went outside of that source to make a deal with a stranger. You never see that usually, the amount of product that is being stated that he moved and the amount of money seems strange. In the drug world the money almost never exposes itself, we get mules, street level distributers, but a guy throwing down close to a million a week, is almost insane. Not that it happens but usually they do not expose themselves. They have peole to do it for them.

He exposed himself, his money and was going outside his source. I don't doubt he did it, but it's strange for this to happen like this. Even outside the nfl you don;t read about busts like this because the money does not stick it's head out, the money protects itself at least usually. Also the drug cartels and gangs don't just let a guy like this float around unless he is dealing outside their circles, unless he had a client base that was out of their reach.

He also wanted Mexican cell phones because he didn't think they could be traced. That's garbage you see on tv, if we can track down Bin Laden using cell phones, we can pretty much track down anyone with a cell phone.

Hurd has been heard to be a real BLOW hard, I also heard that Hurd likes Snow and was hoping for a very white and stimulating holiday season.

I hope he likes Orange jumpsuits!

Does anyone believe the Bears truly check these guys, I Hurd they do but they don't.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on December 16, 2011 7:51 AM.

Marion Barber speaks -- and doesn't say much was the previous entry in this blog.

Johnny Knox to visit children in Engelwood Saturday is the next entry in this blog.

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