From NFL player to convicted felon: Ex-wide receiver Sam Hurd gets 15 years for drug scheme

Once an NFL wide receiver and local hero with a $5 million contract, Sam Hurd was reduced to being a convicted felon in orange jail scrubs pleading with a judge to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison.

The 28-year-old Hurd was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for his role in starting a drug-distribution scheme while playing for the Chicago Bears.

Hurd pleaded guilty in April to one count of trying to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana, which carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

Hurd walked into court with a handwritten speech, but often strayed from it.

In the end, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis gave him a much shorter sentence than the 27 to 34 years recommended by federal sentencing calculations.