Chicago Bears: Sam Hurd

The first wave of free agency has come to a close, but the Chicago Bears still aren't done adding players. We anticipate the club continuing to build the roster all the way through free agency, and even after the draft.

But in the meantime, we decided to spend this week taking a look at some of the best and worst free-agent acquisitions made over the past five years by the Chicago Bears. Feel free to add some of your own in the comments section:

Good: Julius Peppers

Position: Defensive end

Contract: Six years, $84 million

Years of service with Bears: 2010-13

Peppers
Recap: Peppers' tenure with the Bears didn't end as well as anyone would have liked, with the club releasing him March 11. But Peppers was arguably the club's best free-agent acquisition over the last five years. Upon signing a blockbuster deal with the club in 2010, Peppers reeled off 18.5 sacks and 105 tackles over the next two seasons. Peppers' tackle numbers dropped in 2011 and 2012, but in both those seasons, he racked up at least 11 sacks before a disappointing 2013 campaign that -- in conjunction with a base salary of $13.9 million in 2014 -- basically facilitated his exit from Chicago. In four years with the Bears, Peppers started in every game (64), generating 37.5 sacks in addition to making the Pro Bowl during all but one season (2013) during his tenure with the club. In all, Peppers has posted 118.5 career sacks, which ranks second in the NFL since his entry (2002). Four days after Peppers' exit from Chicago, the Green Bay Packers signed him to a three-year contract. Although his production waned toward the end of his tenure in Chicago, Peppers is expected to be a productive contributor for the Packers in 2014.

Bad: Sam Hurd

Position: Wide receiver

Contract: Three years, $5.1 million

Years of service with Bears: 2011

Hurd
Hurd
Recap: It's not that Chicago expected significant contributions when it signed Hurd to a three-year deal in July of 2011. After all, he was just expected to contribute on special teams and as a backup receiver. But it's probably fair to say that Hurd's arrest on federal drug charges in December of 2011 played at least a small role in the club's decision to fire former general manager Jerry Angelo. Hurd caught eight passes for 109 yards, and returned one kickoff for 24 yards in his one season with the Bears. The embarrassment to the organization and the circus atmosphere created with Hurd's arrest far outweighed his insignificant on-field contributions. Team president Ted Philips at the time said the Hurd situation didn't play into Angelo's firing, but the receiver was certainly viewed as one of if not the worst of Bears acquisitions made during the former GM's watch. Last November, Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his involvement in marijuana and cocaine trafficking.


Let’s start off today’s Bears Essentials with a look at Herm Edwards’ list of top 10 cornerbacks around the league.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman checked in at No. 6 Insider, one spot behind Tampa Bay’s Darrelle Revis, and one slot ahead of Miami’s Brent Grimes.

Edwards wrote this about Tillman: “This is another player who I don't think gets enough credit. He's simply a complete corner. He gets pegged as Tampa 2 CB, but they don't play nearly as much Tampa 2 in Chicago now. He's physical, we know what he can do in terms of stripping the ball (three forced fumbles this season and 10 last year) and he's probably the best tackler on this list. He had been a little nicked up with a knee issue, but still had three picks this season before going on injured reserve this week with a triceps injury.”

It’s concerning to think Tillman may have already played his last game as a Chicago Bear, but if the organization lets the cornerback hit the market, there should be some suitors out there.

-- ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson puts together this week’s Stock Watch. Stock in Josh McCown, Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall is rising.

-- In case you missed it, here’s an incredible in-depth piece on former Bears receiver Sam Hurd, written by Michael McKnight of the MMQB. It details the entire Hurd drug case, and even delves into how the receiver became dependent on marijuana. The piece really falls in line with what I've thought about Hurd and the case all along, based on my interactions with the receiver when he was with Chicago, and some of the court documents I've obtained since the news first broke. It seems that Hurd, in his naiveté, talked a much bigger game in terms of the drug trade than he actually knew, and he could wind up paying for that with a life term in prison. He’ll be sentenced on Wednesday.

“Whatever was considered the loudest weed in California—I wanted a notch above that,” Hurd says in the story. “I had educated myself on different strains and potencies and growing techniques. I was very selective. It was like wine.”

There’s tons of interesting nuggets in this story. I encourage you to take the time to read this long piece.

-- CSNChicago.com’s John Mullin considers the Bears' postseason prospects to be difficult at best because of its 3-4 conference record. Can’t say that I disagree here.

Ex-Bears receiver Hurd arrested

August, 9, 2012
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SAN ANTONIO -- Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd has been arrested in San Antonio after federal officials say he tested positive for marijuana use.

Read the entire story.

Bears correct Rashied Davis mistake

August, 6, 2012
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The Chicago Bears signed Devin Thomas as much for his special teams work as his receiving skills. So when Thomas unexpectedly retired Sunday, the Bears moved quickly to fill the roster spot with a player who fits a similar classification.

Veteran Rashied Davis is back with the team after spending last season with the Detroit Lions. A foot injury limited him to 11 games for the Lions, but as we noted last summer, he is one of those "glue players" who helps good teams get better.

The Bears no doubt regret their decision last year to swap Davis for free agent Sam Hurd, a bigger receiver and a good special teams player who was arrested in December on federal drug charges after a six-month investigation.

Related: In the video, ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher doesn't like wearing a brace on his left knee but is otherwise unconcerned about lingering soreness that has kept him out of the Bears' past four practices.

Sam Hurd's cousin arrested in Texas

June, 9, 2012
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The federal case in which former Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd was indicted for drug conspiracy took another twist Friday when it was announced his cousin, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, was arrested this week in San Antonio on similar charges.

U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas said Chavful, 46, faces charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Chavful made an initial appearance in federal court in San Antonio on Thursday and will appear in U.S. District Court for more hearings on a date yet to be determined.

Read the entire story.

Hurd's drug trial delayed to August

February, 13, 2012
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DALLAS -- A federal judge has delayed the drug conspiracy trial for former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd until August.

Read the entire story.

Hurd to stand trial on April 2

February, 2, 2012
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DALLAS -- A federal judge has set an April 2 trial date for former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd, who is charged with trying to create a drug-distribution network.

Read the entire story.

Hurd hires new attorneys for drug trial

January, 23, 2012
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DALLAS -- Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd has hired new attorneys to defend him against accusations that he tried to establish a drug-dealing ring.

One of Hurd's new lawyers says the former Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys receiver plans to plead not guilty this week. Jay Ethington says he and San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum will take over Hurd's case.

Read the entire story.

Arraignment set for Sam Hurd

January, 17, 2012
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An arraignment date of Jan. 25 has been set for former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Hurd, who is set to appear before Judge Jorge A. Solis at the U.S. Courthouse in Dallas, was indicted in early January on federal drug conspiracy and possession charges after he and another man were accused of trying to establish a drug-dealing network.

Read the entire story.

Hurd indicted on 2 drug-dealing counts

January, 4, 2012
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A federal grand jury indicted former Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd and Toby Lujan on Wednesday each with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, announced U.S. attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.

Read the entire story.

2011 in Review: Top 5 Bears stories

December, 29, 2011
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Jay Cutler, Marion Barber and Sam HurdGetty ImagesJay Cutler's injury and Marion Barber's gaffes in Denver essentially ended the season, and Sam Hurd's arrest ended his career in Chicago.
1. Jay Cutler fractures thumb: The Bears improved to 7-3 following an impressive home win over San Diego, and appeared a lock to qualify for the postseason for a second consecutive year. That was until Cutler fractured his right thumb which required surgery and sidelined the quarterback indefinitely. It's been all downhill since.

2. Epic collapse in Denver: Even without Cutler, the Bears led Denver 10-0 late in the fourth quarter in Week 14. Then the roof caved in. Marion Barber made two horrendous blunders that paved the way for the Bears to get Tebowed in the Mile High City. Some argue the season ended that day.

[+] EnlargeMatt Forte
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMatt Forte was on his way to a special season before injuring his knee on Dec. 4.
3. Matt Forte's lingering contract issue: Forte reported to training camp after receiving an assurance from general manager Jerry Angelo that his contract extension was a priority. It might have been, but the two sides were unable to reach a deal and talks eventually broke off. Forte, who was voted to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday, was on pace for a career year before he sprained his MCL. Now he seems on pace for a holdout if/when the Bears apply the franchise tag in the offseason.

4. Arrest of wide receiver Sam Hurd: The Bears have dealt with a few legal issues throughout the years, but none on the level of Hurd, who is accused of attempting to arrange weekly purchases of cocaine and marijuana with an intent to distribute. Hurd was cut two days after his arrest, but the damage was done, as the Bears got blown out at home a few days later by the Seattle Seahawks. So much for limiting those late season distractions.

5. Bears waive goodbye to Olin Kreutz: Everybody assumed Kreutz would retire as a member of the Bears. Wrong. After a few days spent negotiating a new deal, the veteran center was given a take it or leave it ultimatum by the club. Kreutz left it, ending a 13-year relationship with the organization. He eventually signed with the New Orleans Saints, but suddenly retired in the middle of the season.

Sam Hurd's impact on Jerry Angelo

December, 16, 2011
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Via ESPNChicago.com, I heard most of the brief news conference Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo held Friday to announce the inevitable and highly warranted decision to waive receiver Sam Hurd. What caught my ear more than anything, however, was Angelo's snappy response when asked if this episode will impact his future with the organization.

"Whistling Dixie," is what it sounded like Angelo said. In other words, you're in fantasy land.

I wonder, however, how Hurd's arrest will weigh on a lifelong football man who never imagined that the acquisition of a No. 5 receiver and special teams contributor would blow up into one of the most embarrassing moments in recent franchise history. By all accounts, Hurd was a well-respected member of the Dallas Cowboys for five seasons and there were few, if any, people around the NFL who would have suspected him of operating a drug distribution ring that undercover federal investigators busted Wednesday night in Chicago.

Angelo downplayed reports this month that he might retire after the season. There are times when sports franchises and private businesses alike oust their top executives at times of extreme crisis, but I don't think this qualifies. If the Bears fire Angelo because he signed a veteran NFL player with no prior history who was later revealed to be a drug dealer, well, that would be a tough blow.

Angelo said Friday that there were "no facts" and "no flags" that "anyone can present tangibly" that would suggest the Bears should have been aware of Hurd's alleged secret life. "We do our homework," Angelo said. "We do our due diligence and we did everything we could possibly do given the information that we can accumulate."

But when you think back just over the past year or so, you recall Angelo explaining a bizarre miscommunication that left tailback Chester Taylor believing he had been released when in fact he was expected at practice. You think of Angelo denying any wrongdoing when a draft-day trade with the Baltimore Ravens broke down without the Ravens realizing it.

Angelo is 62. He has two years remaining on his contract, but you wonder if the Hurd episode is enough to push him over the edge and at least consider retirement. His brief but fierce defense Friday suggested it won't. But perhaps he was the one whistling "Dixie" on that one.

Bears cut Hurd; Angelo: It's 'right thing'

December, 16, 2011
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears cut Sam Hurd on Friday, two days after the receiver was arrested on federal drug-dealing charges.

Read the entire story.

Shocked Toub must replace 'valuable' Hurd

December, 16, 2011
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- News of Sam Hurd's arrest on federal drug charges blindsided Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who made a strong push in the offseason for the organization to sign the former Dallas Cowboys special teams standout in free agency.

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

Toub's interest in Hurd on the open market was due to the wide receiver recording 72 special teams tackles over five seasons with the Cowboys. Through 13 games this season, Hurd has eight special teams tackles and a forced fumble.

"He's been very valuable. He's been a four-phase starter for us," Toub said. "He's been the personal protect on punt team. He's been the captain of our punt team. It's going to take a little bit to replace him. We're all shocked, let's leave it at that."

Toub refused to tip his hand as to which exact player replaces Hurd on Sunday against Seattle, saying simply "it will be the next man up."

Just as in Dallas, Hurd's role on offense has been extremely limited. He has eight receptions for 108 yards.

Hurd arrested on federal drug charges

December, 15, 2011
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Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in Chicago on federal drug charges on Wednesday night.

According to Kathy Colvin, the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas, Hurd allegedly attempted to purchase drugs from a supplier in North Texas, the location of where the case will be adjudicated.

Read the entire story.

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