Sam Hurd pleads not guilty in drug case

Updated: January 25, 2012, 8:20 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

DALLAS -- Only hours after hiring new attorneys Monday, former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to establish a drug-dealing network.

Hurd was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, but entered his plea electronically to avoid the brief hearing.

Hurd's new attorneys, Michael McCrum of San Antonio and Jay Ethington of Dallas, said earlier Monday that the 26-year-old Hurd would enter a not guilty plea to accusations that he tried to buy large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. Authorities say they caught Hurd telling an undercover agent that he and a co-conspirator already distributed cocaine throughout the Chicago area and needed more supply.

McCrum, a former federal prosecutor who was once nominated to become the U.S. attorney for Texas' western district, said he was "honored" to represent Hurd but it was too early to comment on the charges.

"I am looking forward to seeing what evidence the government may have," McCrum said Monday. "I believe there's much more to the story than what's being portrayed."

Hurd, a former Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, was arrested in December during an undercover sting. The Bears released him a few days after the arrest.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Hurd told an undercover agent that he was interested in buying five to 10 pounds of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area. He allegedly said he and a co-conspirator already distribute about four kilograms of cocaine per week. A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.

Hurd allegedly described himself as the person who handled "high-end deals."

Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas, declined to comment earlier Monday.

Ethington described his new client as in a "transition period" following his arrest. The attorneys would not say whether Hurd continues to live in the Chicago area or in San Antonio, where he played high school ball and several family members still live.

The attorneys replace high-profile defense lawyers David Kenner and Brett Greenfield of Encino, Calif. Kenner could not immediately be reached for comment.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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