DALLAS – Former Bears and Northern Illinois receiver Sam Hurd pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a new indictment accusing him of trying to obtain cocaine and marijuana while he was out on bond awaiting trial on charges of trying to start a drug ring in the Chicago area.
The indictment handed up last month is based on allegations that Hurd asked a cousin, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, to buy drugs. Chavful signed a guilty plea agreement Monday to one count of conspiracy to possess five or more kilograms of cocaine – documents in which Chavful said Hurd contacted him at his T-shirt shop in San Antonio and asked to “get him cocaine and marijuana.”
According to the documents, Chavful said he set up a deal to purchase the drugs but was arrested.
Hurd’s attorney, Jay Ethington, has said Chavful is lying, but Chavful’s attorney, Laura Harper, said her client simply wanted to come clean.
Hurd entered his plea in federal court in Dallas, appearing in an orange jail uniform and standing next to Ethington. He’s been in custody since August after failing two drug tests and the Chavful allegations surfaced.
Hurd’s arrest during last year’s NFL season shocked his teammates on the Chicago Bears. Authorities have accused him of trying to set up large-scale purchases of cocaine and marijuana – and accepting 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of what he thought was cocaine from an undercover officer at a Chicago-area steakhouse.
Hurd allegedly told the officer he wanted to eventually buy 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area. Agents arrested him outside the steakhouse.
Hurd was then cut by the Bears, months after signing a contract reportedly worth up to $5.15 million.
In prison, Hurd has been playing basketball and working out in hopes of one day playing football again, Ethington said after court Wednesday.
“Under the circumstances, he’s doing a lot better than I would,” Ethington said.
The San Antonio native played at Northern Illinois and spent five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before signing with the Bears in 2011.
Hurd’s co-defendant, Toby Lujan, has pleaded guilty. Lujan signed paperwork saying he told an informant for law enforcement about a potential drug buyer named “Sam” who played for the Bears.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis scheduled Hurd’s trial for Dec. 3. Right now, Ethington said his intention was to prepare for trial.
“There’s not going to be any plea discussions that I’ve heard of,” Ethington said.