Smith: Hurd will not be a distraction

To a person, the heard of Sam Hurd's arrest on drug charges has shocked the Chicago Bears. Yet coach Lovie Smith says the incident will not compromise the team's focus going forward.

The situation is pretty staggering. A member of the Chicago Bears, a wide receiver and key contributor on special teams, was arrested last night after allegedly attempting to buy a kilogram of cocaine.

According to the criminal complaint, Hurd is accused of possessing 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute. He is also accused of buying four kilograms of cocaine in July.

In what will surely be an eye-opening and engrossing saga, Hurd instantly becomes one of the biggest sports stories of the year, if not the past decade. Few, if any, professional athletes have been involved in a drug deal of this size and scope. In essence, Hurd was attempting to broker a drug and distribution ring, which included both cocaine and marijuana, that would have permeated the Chicago area.

It was more than a one-time deal. Hurd was attempting to set up a weekly purchase that, had it gone down, would have earned him and his partners roughly $120 million a year.

WR Sam Hurd
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

"We, just like I'm sure quite a few people, are disappointed in what we found out about Sam Hurd being arrested, whatever charges, the drug charges, that came out today," said coach Lovie Smith after practice. "We're still gathering information on it. I just know that there's disappointment right now with our entire football team.

"We can [keep it from becoming a distraction], starting off by going to practice today. We know about it. The players know about it but beyond that it was business as usual around here. A typical Thursday practice for us. We will not let this become a distraction for us."

Special teams coach Dave Toub, who lobbied for Hurd in the offseason, was genuinely upset by the news.

"We're all in a state of shock right now," Toub said.

The loss will come as a big blow to the special teams, where Hurd played in integral role.

"He's been very valuable," said Toub. "He's been a four-phase starter for us — solid. He's the captain of our punt team. It's going to take a little bit to replace him."

The team was never informed by the authorities of Hurd's arrest. Smith said Hurd didn't show up for meetings in the morning. When the team went to investigate his absence, they saw on television the news of last night's arrest.

With the organization still gathering information, Hurd is still officially on the roster, but it's safe to say he'll be cut in short order.

"Yes, he's still a member of the Bears," said Smith. "Of course, no one has really had a chance to talk to Sam but he is still a part."

This drama could play out in a number of different ways. Crucial questions still need to be answered, such as who else was involved and if any were NFL players. So until those and thousands of other questions are answered, we'll refrain from conjecture. But to be sure, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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