Dismay and Disbelief for Those Who Knew a Younger Sam Hurd

This week, as locals grappled with Hurd’s arrest on federal drug charges, the house appeared empty, the neighborhood quiet except for the man who hung a homemade sign on a pole. It read: I buy ugly houses — for cash!

Those who professed to know Hurd, 26, now wonder if they ever really did. The emotions his arrest elicited — shock, disbelief, anger — are not unusual. But the charges, the scope of what Hurd is accused of doing while playing in the N.F.L., are perhaps without precedent in American sports, which only amplified the reaction in his hometown.

People who knew him here have become uncomfortably familiar with the details in the criminal complaint: $88,000 and found inside a car; the plan to buy up to $700,000 worth of drugs each week; the receiver, their hero, accused of aspiring to become not just a drug dealer, but a kingpin, Tony Montana of “Scarface” and football’s Joe Montana all at once.

“People are dismayed,” said Al Porter, a retired teacher for whom Hurd was a student assistant, a man who later helped Hurd run his summer football camps here. “We don’t want to believe it. There’s got to be something we haven’t heard yet.”

Porter sighed as he sipped sweet tea at a coffee shop. “Look, people can live a double life,” he continued. “Behind closed doors, you never know. It’s just. …” His voice trailed off, into a whisper. “What they’re accusing him of, it’s not small time. It’s a drug ring.”

Hurd, through his lawyer, has maintained his innocence.

The Sam Hurd whom Porter knew worked with special-needs students at Brackenridge High School and attended Right Way Baptist Church. Even when he scratched his way onto the Dallas Cowboys’ roster as an undrafted free agent to continue an improbable career arc, Hurd returned often to the area known as the Eastside, where he held annual Easter egg hunts.

The neighborhood sits minutes from downtown, east of Interstate 37. For all its warts — abandoned houses with boarded-up windows, homeless people living by the railroad tracks, drugs, gangs, crime — the Hurd family long and proudly called the Eastside home.

Hurd’s mother, Gloria Corbin, came from a family of eight children who moved to Texas from Louisiana, according to her sister Sue Perkins. Corbin, Perkins said, had six children of her own.

The family produced a large number of football stars — Carl Hurd, an uncle of Sam’s, won a city championship in 1979; John Corbin, a brother, returned Brackenridge to the playoffs in 1997 — but Perkins emphasized that the family included judges, lawyers and educators, too.

“We came from humble beginnings, but we are a family filled with productive citizens,” Perkins said. “You could say we went from cotton sacks to Cadillacs.”

Gloria Corbin married Sam Hurd Jr. in 1992, according to public records, but kept her maiden name. She worked at nearby Santa Rosa Hospital and ran the high school booster club even after Sam, her oldest son, made the N.F.L.

When friends asked why she did not move, Corbin told them she did not want to. Her son, she added, had his own family to support. When he gave her money, she often regifted it to others.

“Gloria was a fixture in the community,” said Daniel Thatcher, a family friend. “You’d still see her at games, even a year ago. People would say: ‘That’s Sam Hurd’s mom? Back there? Serving nachos?’ But that’s Gloria.”

The family was not immune to the dangers that surrounded them. One of Hurd’s uncles, Jimmy Corbin, was arrested several times, including on felony charges for robbery and cocaine possession, according to public records.

Sheelagh McNeill, Alain Delaqueriere and Lisa Schwartz contributed research.

Bears’ Knox Taken From Field With Back Injury

The Bears said the injury is not career-threatening. The surgery is scheduled for Monday.

“He has total movement throughout his body, has total use of all his extremities, which is good,” coach Lovie Smith said. “We’re doing tests right now. He has total movement. He’s not paralyzed or anything.”

Knox had just caught a pass from Caleb Hanie about four minutes into Sunday’s game when Kam Chancellor poked the ball out of his hands. As Knox made a diving attempt to retrieve the ball, he was hit by Anthony Hargrove and got bent backward. He stayed down for close to 10 minutes while being tended to by medical personnel.

The Seahawks’ Earl Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chicago 22.

Knox was eventually placed on a stretcher and taken from the field on a cart, putting his hands over his face and wiggling his fingers as he left the field.

The injury to Knox was another blow for a team that lost Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and Matt Forte (sprained knee) in recent weeks and was trying to get over the shock of receiver Sam Hurd’s arrest on federal drug charges in the days leading up to this game.

Late in the half, Bears safety Chris Conte suffered a foot injury trying to tackle Seattle’s Justin Forsett and left the game. The Seahawks didn’t come away from this game unscathed, either, with receiver Mike Williams suffering a broken ankle when he was tackled after a catch in the third quarter.

Chicago Bears Cut Receiver Hurd After Drug Arrest

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago Bears said on Friday they will cut wide receiver Sam Hurd from the football team following his arrest on federal drug charges.

Team spokesman Scott Hagel told Reuters in an e-mail that Hurd, 26, “will be waived today,” meaning he will be dropped from the team.

Hurd, who signed a three-year contract with the Bears in July after five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was arrested and charged earlier this week with conspiracy to distribute large quantities of cocaine and .

Hurd allegedly wanted to set up a drug distribution operation in Chicago and told an undercover law enforcement agent that he wanted to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine at a price of $25,000 per kilogram weekly, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher and Greg McCune)