Bears

Hurd arrested on drug charges

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Hurd arrested on drug charges

Updated: 4:17 p.m.

Associated Press
Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was in federal custody Thursday, charged with trying to set up a drug-dealing network after authorities arrested him with a kilogram of cocaine during a sting.

Hurd was arrested Wednesday night after meeting with an undercover agent at a Chicago restaurant, according to a criminal complaint that says the player was first identified as a potential drug dealer over the summer as the NFL lockout was coming to an end.

Hurd told the agent that he was interested in buying five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area, the complaint said. He allegedly said he and a co-conspirator already distribute about four kilos of cocaine every week, but their supplier couldnt keep up with his demands.

Hurd told the agent his co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals while he focused on higher-end deals, the complaint said. He agreed to pay 25,000 for each kilogram of cocaine and 450 a pound for the marijuana, according to the charges, and then said he could pay for a kilo of cocaine after he gets out of practice. He walked out of the restaurant with the package and was arrested.

The NFL said it was looking into the incident and the Bears said they were gathering details about what happened.

We are disappointed whenever these circumstances arise. We will deal with them appropriately once we have all the information, the team said in a statement.

Hurd was scheduled to make his initial court appearance later Thursday. It wasnt immediately known whether he had an attorney and his agent, Ian Greengross, did not return a message. The NFL Players Association declined to comment.

Teammates said they were stunned.

Its a situation that you dont, I dont, want anybody to be in, especially a close friend, a teammate that Ive been playing with now for four or five years, said wide receiver Roy Williams, who played with Hurd in Dallas before being reunited on the Bears this year. Especially a guy from Texas with a wife and a daughter. ... I know it has to be tough for him because he has his family.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher said its sad for Hurd, who he called a good teammate and good guy. But he said it wont affect the teams play.

Football-wise its not going to be an issue, Urlacher said. Well go out there and practice like we do every day and hopefully put it behind us when Sunday gets here.

Hurd, a 26-year-old native of San Antonio who played college ball at Northern Illinois, played for five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and is in his first season with the Bears. He has contributed mostly on special teams, playing in 77 games overall with six starts and two career touchdowns. He has played in 12 games this year, catching eight passes for 109 yards.

The complaint says an informant tipped off authorities in Texas in July, leading to an investigation in which an unidentified acquaintance of Hurds negotiated for approximately five kilograms of cocaine on the players behalf. The acquaintance wanted to buy the drugs quickly to take it to a northern destination that same day, the complaint said.

The Bears agreed to a three-year deal with Hurd reportedly worth up to 5.15 million, including a 1.35 million signing bonus and base pay this season of 685,000.

The agreement was announced on July 29 -- the day after federal authorities say he had agreed to a consensual interview with Homeland Security investigators over 88,000 in cash that had been seized in a car he owned in the Dallas area. The money was inside a canvas bag that authorities said was covered in a plant-like material that tested positive for properties of marijuana.

The acquaintance told authorities that Hurd routinely leaves large amounts of money in his vehicles, while Hurd said the money was indeed his and that he had given the car to his acquaintance, a car shop employee, for maintenance and detail work.

Hurd showed authorities a bank statement he said showed he had withdrawn 88,000 from his account, but authorities said it did not reflect the transactions and amounts he claimed.

Linebacker Lance Briggs said the team was going to focus on practice and Sundays home game against Seattle.

You hate to see this happen to anyone. Thats just it. We all make mistakes, Briggs said. You dont go through a football season without distractions. Distractions are expected. This is a game where were professionals and you have to approach it that way.

Theres a sports side, theres a business side and then theres a personal side. And, when it comes to business as a professional, you have to take care of business.

How Tarik Cohen is thriving as the Bears continue to put more on his plate

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USA Today

How Tarik Cohen is thriving as the Bears continue to put more on his plate

Mitchell Trubisky shook his head and grinned when he fielded yet another question this week about the touchdown pass Tarik Cohen threw against the Baltimore Ravens.

“Dang, you guys can’t get enough of this,” Trubisky said. “I talked about it after the game. Dowell (Loggains) was saying it was the best pass of the game. I’m like, ‘All right, geez, let him play quarterback.

“… He threw a dime ball. I love how he was fading away on it and celebrating on the 50-yard line. Zach (Miller) made a great catch. So A-plus; really impressive spiral, especially with the gloves on. Can’t count any of that out. Tarik’s a special player and it was an awesome throw.”

The point here is less about Cohen’s throw and more about the Bears finding yet another way for the rookie running back to make an impact. So far this year, Cohen has rushed 50 times, caught 26 passes, returned 14 punts and now thrown that historic touchdown. He’s been asked to block in pass protection more frequently, allowing him to be on the field more. And he’s worked with wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and Kendall Wright (who Cohen referred to as another receiver coach for him) to expand his route tree, leading him to be the most-targeted player (33 targets) on the Bears through six weeks. 

That may seem like a lot to put on the plate of a fourth-round draft pick from an FCS school, but it hasn’t been too much for Cohen. 

“We need Tarik to be that guy for us — the best playmaker we have,” Loggains said. “There’s no secret there. And he’s a guy who we’ll continue to use, and people are aware of him. So how creative can we get with him? How many different things can we do with him? 

“Like, we’re stretching him. Mentally, he’s stretched to the max playing all these positions — motioning out to wide receiver, playing running back and doing more in the backfield with more carries. So we have to keep stretching him and keep using him in the offense.”

Opposing defenses have keyed on Cohen since his explosive debut Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, scheming to muffle his playmaking ability. But he still managed to nearly have a walk-off 73-yard run against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, and then in Week 6, with defenses figuring they could crash down on him on sweep plays to the edge, he (literally) threw another wrinkle into how to gameplan against him. The next time the Bears run a toss sweep to Cohen, opposing safeties will have to think twice about bolting toward the line of scrimmage to stop him. 

Every time Cohen seems to hit a rookie wall, he and the Bears find a way to knock it down. The discussion a week ago about Cohen was that he was dancing too much and not cutting upfield quick enough; this week, it’s all about his perfect quarterback rating. 

“Our coaches do a good job of continuing to put him in places so he can be successful,” fellow running back Benny Cunningham said. “But ultimately I feel like he has such a genuine love of the game, I don’t see that happening (hitting the wall). Since the day he’s been here, from Day 1 to today, I’ve seen no drop-off in his desire to be successful and to help this offense.”

The Bears have known this about Cohen's mentality since they scouted and drafted him back in the spring, and his potential only blossomed after getting him into Halas Hall in May — “Early on, we knew Tarik was going to be pretty special,” coach John Fox said. But Cohen wouldn’t be able to reach that potential without the ability to handle the responsibilities of all the different tasks the Bears have asked of him so far. 

Cohen’s ability to do so many different things makes him an important player for this team, and his ability to do them with an exciting, playmaking flair has made him a fan favorite since training camp. So what’s next for the 5-foot-6 rookie?

“I think we’ve got something — I’ll punt the ball this week,” Cohen joked. “Naw, I’m playin’. I can’t put the ball for nothing, I don’t think. It’ll probably go like 20 yards.”

The Bears defense is trending up, and could get Nick Kwiatkoski back as soon as this weekend

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USA Today

The Bears defense is trending up, and could get Nick Kwiatkoski back as soon as this weekend

Nick Kwiatkoski was a full participant in Bears practice on Friday, marking the first time the second-year linebacker has done that since he suffered a pec injury Sept. 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Kwiatkoski sounded confident he could make his return five weeks after suffering that painful injury. 

“It’s not really my decision,” Kwiatkoski said. “I’m preparing like I am, so we’ll see. … “In my head I am (playing). But we’ll see.”

The Bears’ defense, despite placing three key players — linebackers Willie Young and Jerrell Freeman and safety Quintin Demps — on injured reserve, has been solid at worst so far this year. Pro Football Focus has Vic Fangio’s group as the third-best defense in the NFL through Week 6, behind only the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. 

While Christian Jones played some quality snaps next to Danny Trevathan (and John Timu — he struggled after Timu’s injury against Minnesota), Kwiatkoski represents an upgrade at inside linebacker. The Bears liked what Kwiatkoski did last year in place of an injured Trevathan, and were confident they wouldn’t miss a beat with him filling in after Freeman’s Week 1 injury. 

“He’s a smart guy who has been willing to work,” coach John Fox said. “And I’ve seen that improvement from last year to this year. And anytime you get whacked or injured or taken out for some reason, you’ve got to kind of regain that again. It’s like a do-over. So he has had a good week.”

Kwiatkoski stayed sharp by going through meetings and film study as if he were playing while that pec injury — which he said felt like a “bad pulled muscle” — kept him sidelined for practices and games. If Kwiatkoski indeed is active and/or starting Sunday against Carolina, the hope is he can step in and pick up where he left off in Week 2. 

“I have all the confidence that he'll do fine,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said prior to Kwiatkoski’s injury. And that confidence, in all likelihood, still exists.