Patriots

Ex-NFL receiver in more trouble with the law

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Ex-NFL receiver in more trouble with the law

From Comcast SportsNetDALLAS (AP) -- A federal judge ordered former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd to be jailed indefinitely Tuesday for failing two drug tests and allegedly buying drugs while already facing charges he tried to distribute marijuana and cocaine.U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan indicated that he was less troubled by the drug tests than the allegations that Hurd had tried to buy drugs while he was out on bond. He revoked Hurd's 100,000 bond.After the hearing, Hurd turned toward his family and supporters in the courtroom and said: "Lies." He spoke briefly to a few people watching before he was led out of the courtroom.The 27-year-old Hurd, who played for the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, was arrested again earlier this month. Prosecutors say he tested positive for marijuana at least twice this year. His cousin also allegedly told authorities he tried to buy five kilograms of cocaine (about 11 pounds) and 200 pounds of marijuana on Hurd's behalf.The cousin, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, also told prosecutors he sold Hurd 30 pounds of marijuana for 10,500 in May.Hurd 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.An alleged co-conspirator accused of helping Hurd, Toby Lujan, pleaded guilty last week to a cocaine possession charge.Prosecutors left court Tuesday without comment. Hurd's mother, Gloria Corbin, attended the hearing along with his wife, sisters and at least one former teammate, Marion Barber."That's my son," Corbin told reporters afterward. "I love him, I support him and I believe in him."Hurd entered court in an orange jail uniform and handcuffs that were eventually removed. He took notes during the nearly two-hour hearing and often shook his head as law enforcement agents testified about the evidence against him.Cecilio Bustamante, a supervising probation officer in Dallas, said Hurd admitted to first failing a drug test in May and then again in July -- the second time after entering into drug counseling. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Robert Alarcon testified that months after Hurd's arrest and release on bond, his cousin, Chavful, allegedly brought 30 pounds of marijuana in a blue ice chest to Hurd for 10,500.Chavful was arrested June 6 after trying to take delivery of five kilograms of cocaine and almost 200 pounds of marijuana, Alarcon said. Chavful would later tell agents he was buying the drugs for Hurd and said he had talked to "Big Sam" several times leading up to the sale, Alarcon said.Alarcon said he believed Lujan and Chavful did not know each other, lending credibility to their separate testimony.Jay Ethington, Hurd's attorney, repeatedly questioned the strength of the evidence and suggested Chavful was blaming Hurd to lighten the blame on himself."We are very disappointed that the judge accepted the government's version of the facts that are based on exaggerated and even fabricated testimony of a non-credible informant," Ethington said in an email afterward. "We will continue to try to bring the truth to the courthouse."

Energized Patriots defense forces 'critical swings' with turnovers

Energized Patriots defense forces 'critical swings' with turnovers

“We’re a blue-collar team…”

Devin McCourty didn’t hesitate when asked about the Patriots’ identity. Moments prior, McCourty and his teammates had just stomped the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City, 33-8, to run their win streak to a half-dozen games. The Pats are tied for the best record in the AFC with the Steelers

“We played at a high level,” said McCourty. “They made some plays, but I thought we executed our game plan and did exactly what we wanted to do today.”

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After surrendering a 100-points per game through the first month (ok, it was only 32), the Pats defense has flexed their muscle during this stretch, allowing 12.5 points per game, which would be the best in the NFL were this a season-long thing. We’re not looking at the same unit even though the personnel is largely the same. If anything, from a talent-level, this defense has less skill than it did when the season started. Their best player, Dont'a Hightower, is out for the year, lost during the first win of this 6-game streak. They’ve also survived three-game absences from $31-million cornerback Stephon Gilmore and their most consistent interior defender, tackle Malcom Brown. Yet the defense keeps showing up, keeps improving and its confidence is growing by leaps and bounds.

“We’re just playing together…we’re kind of figuring that out,” said McCourty. “We’re understanding how we need to prepare, how we need to practice, whether it’s a hard, full-padded practice, whether it’s a walkthrough, we know what we need to do on each of those days and when we do that, we give ourselves a chance. You’re seeing that on Sundays. Everyone running around, everyone knows their job and it’s all about execution.”

“I thought our players gave a great effort tonight,” said Bill Belichick. “We came out and performed well early, throughout the game and played really good situational football.”

The Pats were opportunistic, forcing three turnovers, including one in a huge spot, when Marquis Flowers stripped the ball from wideout Seth Roberts as the Raiders were knocking on the door. It was 14-0 at the time, and Oakland had life. Second-year cornerback Jon Jones battled Roberts, Flowers popped the ball free and safety Pat Chung pounced on it. Instead of milking the clock and heading into halftime up two scores, the Pats turned that fumble into points, driving to midfield before Steven Gostkowski kicked a career-long 62 yarder. That further energized a Pats team that was already surging.

“It’s something we talk about every week,” said McCourty. “We’re playing solid defense, executing the game plan, but changing the game with turnovers - you know, even Duron’s interception was a third down so it was kind of like a punt. The energy that brings - when the offense takes the field after we get a turnover - that’s huge. And then with them driving again in the red area before the half is what we talked about, getting that stop.”

“We had some real critical swings with those turnovers,” admired Tom Brady, a chief beneficiary of those change in possessions.

Earlier this week, I asked McCourty if he got a sense that the team was coming together at the tail end of their stay in Colorado Springs. He smiled and joked initially, but you could sense the veteran safety can see and feel what the rest of the league is now a witness to.

“I hope so. I mean, it’d probably be terrible if I say yeah and then we go on a five-game losing streak. I can see the headline: ‘McCourty was wrong.’ So, no, I think we understand how the season starts to pick up. You know, each game means more. We understand that seven wins (now 8) doesn’t mean anything. We have to continue to get better. So, I think why we end up usually improving is because it’s the understanding of there’s no tomorrow.”

The defense ordered that Code Red after losing to Carolina in Week 4, and since then, they have worked harder, worked longer and cleaned up so many of the issues that ailed them that opening month. It’s a credit to the players, “they won’ the game tonight,” said Belichick, and the coaching staff as well. if you’ve followed this team over the years, you know even now, they’re not satisfied. There are “things to work on” added Belichick and they’ll start that work on the flight home from Mexico City to Foxboro. 

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