Sam Hurd, once a promising receiver with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison for drug trafficking that occurred during and after the 2011 NFL season.
Prosecutors in Texas wanted U.S. District court judge Jorge A. Solis to sentence Hurd to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his involvement in cocaine and marijuana trafficking. But a remorseful, weeping Hurd asked for leniency, calling himself “the stupidest drug guy ever.”
Hurd had prepared a statement to read, but instead offered an emotional explanation of his crimes, which included a meeting with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) informant and undercover ICE special agent in a Chicago steak house in December 2011, where Hurd was given a kilo of cocaine.
“My life is a train wreck because of the bad decisions I made,” he said, according to Sports Illustrated. “Everything I did was a result of my marijuana addiction… I was extremely stupid. I feel the pain I caused my wife, mother, father, sisters and brothers and my community.”
Hurd asked Solis for a “second chance” and promised to “be an upstanding citizen and a loving husband and father.”
The plea appears to have had at least some impact on Solis, who said he felt inclined to sentence Hurd to 27 years before pointing out that this was Hurd’s first offense and chopped his initial assessment nearly in half. The judge’s final ruling – 15 years, to be followed by five years of supervised release -caused an audible gasp from the gallery.
It also helped Hurd that phone records suggested that he was not involved in dealing narcotics with his cousin Tyrone Chavful while Hurd was out on bond in San Antonio following his arrest in Chicago.
According to S.I., Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay provided minimal evidence during the hearing and offered only brief cross examinations of Hurd’s character witnesses. Tromblay responded to claims that his office had tried to make an example of Hurd because of his NFL notoriety by saying, “This isn’t because he’s an NFL player–it’s because he’s a drug dealer. He [knew] exactly what he was doing.”