Former Chicago Bears player Sam Hurd released from federal prison

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, February 24, 2023
Former Chicago Bears player Sam Hurd released from federal prison
Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd has been released from federal prison afte serving 10 years of 15-year sentence for cocaine trafficking charges.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has learned that former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd has been released from a federal prison after serving time for cocaine trafficking charges.

The one-time NFL player did a decade behind bars after receiving a 15-year sentence. Hurd, now 37, was taken down by federal agents in 2011 while he was still on the Bears roster.

At a Rosemont steakhouse, he shared a table with someone he thought was a drug supplier but was actually an undercover agent. On a video-recorded conversation, Hurd agreed to buy five to 10 kilos of cocaine per week at $25,000 per kilo. In the parking lot after the deal, the feds swooped in and took him away. After pleading guilty, Hurd was sent to the Bastrop federal penitentiary in Texas.

As the I-Team reported in 2016, Hurd claimed he'd been rehabilitated and deserved an early release. A judge denied that request for release.

Three weeks ago, the Bureau of Prisons released him early and sent him for processing in San Antonio where he has either been relocated to a halfway house or put on home confinement. The BOP has not responded to I-Team requests for clarification.

"The Bureau of Prisons has authority about what to do with people sentences towards the end of those sentences and often, whether because of prison crowding conditions or good behavior or otherwise they will cut a defendant loose," said former Chicago federal prosecutor and ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer. "He has an opportunity to turn himself around. He's still relatively young, he still has many years ahead of him, and he has the chance, especially given the fame that preceded him to do something meaningful in life. We shouldn't discount that possibility."

Thursday, Hurd's attorney Jay Ethington told the I-Team, "Unlike some inmates after release from prison, Sam, in the future will follow the right path, and be a positive part of society. Sam was one of the very good guys that was drawn into the trap of illicit drugs. The Federal Judge that reluctantly imposed the severe sentence, was confident that when Sam returned home he'd be law-abiding and successful. Sam is a smart and caring person. Keep the criminals away from trickin' him and he'll be just fine."

Another one of Hurd's attorneys, Michael McCrum told the I-Team, "Sam never was the 'drug dealer' that this case and sentence would lead some to believe. Sam is a good guy - a decent guy - someone I would trust my kids with. I'm confident he will find a way to contribute to our world in a good and productive way, just as he always has before he was tricked into the situation he found himself in."