They both signed with the Dallas Cowboys as undrafted rookie free agents out of smaller colleges in 2006. Both guys posted big numbers at their respective schools – Hurd at Northern Illinois, Austin at Monmouth. Both had earned their degrees. Both came to the Cowboys in Bill Parcells’ final season as projects with a shot.
For a couple of years, it was hard to see one without the other. Because they had so much in common, they bonded and were pretty tight. They were both well liked.
Hurd took to Terrell Owens; his locker for a couple of years was next to TO. In 2008, Hurd entertained the entire locker room with an impromptu big-time wrestling fight with a teammate that brought down the house.
For a brief period, Hurd was actually the more productive player. But in 2009, Austin suddenly hit while Hurd remained flat.
While Austin became a Pro Bowl player, Hurd apparently became a Pro Bowl drug dealer.Click here for this fascinating read on Sam Hurd's fall into the world of drug dealing with Sports Illustrated; Hurd agreed to the interview from jail.
You want to talk about the last person in the world I ever would have suspected was a Marlo Stanfield, it was the nice kid from San Antonio who routinely quoted the bible and the word of Jesus Christ. I covered Hurd from the time he came to the Cowboys and he was always polite, well spoken and available. It's not a big surprise to learn that an NFL player smoked weed, but to read that he was a big-time weed/coc' dealer is stunning.
Hurd left the Cowboys after the 2010 season to sign as a free agent with the Chicago Bears. He was arrested in 2011 for dealing drugs, which included weed and cocaine. He currently is in prison in Seagoville, Texas where he awaits federal prosecution, which is scheduled for this week. He is expected to be sentenced for life.
In this long interview he did from his jail, Hurd sounded like a man who became a weed connossieur. He viewed weed the way someone may love wine, or a good beer. He said he thinks half of the NFL players smoke weed, and told of how when he played with the Cowboys the veterans let him in on a little secret – when the NFL “randomly” tested for weed, so as to avoid being busted.
Hurd never had Austin’s physical assets, or ability. Austin kept developing while Hurd had hit his ceiling. Austin eventually signed a six-year, $48 million deal that included $18 million guaranteed in the fall of 2010.
Because of nagging injuries and a lack of production – Austin has not caught a pass since Sept. 22 and can’t get on the field because of a hamstring – he will be cut in the offseason. Another team will give him a look because he can play. Odds are his best days are behind him and he is looking at the next phase of his life.
The next phase of Hurd’s life, sadly, is just beginning, too.
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