Guilty plea close for former NIU WR Hurd

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 6:01 p.m.CDT

DALLAS – Former Northern Illinois and NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd is moving closer to a deal to plead guilty in the federal drug-distribution case against him, his attorney said Tuesday.

Prosecutors filed documents Tuesday that said Hurd would plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a recommended sentence of 10 years in prison to life.

But attorney Jay Ethington told The Associated Press that the documents were posted prematurely. Ethington said he and prosecutors were still negotiating the terms of any plea agreement — namely which allegations Hurd would acknowledge in an eventual plea.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas did not immediately return an email message.

Hurd, 27, played for the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. He was arrested in December after allegedly accepting cocaine from an undercover agent at a suburban Chicago steakhouse.

According to court documents, Hurd took 1 kilogram — about 2 pounds — of cocaine and told the officer he wanted to eventually buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area.

Hurd was cut by the Bears after his arrest. He had been free on bail, which was revoked last month when he twice tested positive for marijuana and was accused of trying to buy more drugs earlier this year.

Ethington said he remained concerned about a "factual resume" accompanying a plea agreement that sets out facts of the crime agreed to by both Hurd and prosecutors.

Hurd was not "a big-time captain of some drug conspiracy," Ethington said.

"This whole adventure was really somebody else's, and Hurd got swept up into it in a naive way," Ethington said.

Hurd's trial is currently scheduled for Oct. 9.

A co-defendant, Toby Lujan, has already pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge. Lujan signed paperwork saying he told an informant for law enforcement about a potential drug buyer named "Sam" who played for the Bears.

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