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Originally published Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM

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Ex-player Sam Hurd pleads guilty

Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to buy cocaine and marijuana to set up a drug-distribution network...

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DALLAS — Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to buy cocaine and marijuana to set up a drug-distribution network, leaving a once-promising career in tatters as he faces a prison sentence of at least 10 years.

Hurd, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court in Dallas to one count of possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty days before his trial was scheduled to begin, without any promise of a more lenient sentence.

He faces 10 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in July.

Standing in an orange jumpsuit, the tall, lanky Hurd leaned into a microphone and asked to address the court.

"I'm sorry for everything I've done," he said in a brief statement, adding that he intended to plead guilty for months and never expected the process to take as long as it did.

Hurd was playing for the Chicago Bears in December 2011 — months after signing a contract reportedly worth more than $5 million — when he attended a meeting at a Chicago-area steakhouse with an undercover officer and a confidential informant. Prosecutors have alleged in court documents that Hurd accepted a kilogram of cocaine from the officer and signaled that he'd be interested in buying large, weekly quantities of cocaine and marijuana.

Hurd was arrested outside the steakhouse and cut by the Bears shortly afterward.

He was released on bond, but was re-arrested in August after failing drug tests and being accused of trying to arrange another drug buy.

Jay Ethington, one of Hurd's attorneys, said after court his client was "an extensive marijuana user," which may have contributed to his involvement in trafficking. Ethington also blamed "parasites," including two former co-defendants who have pleaded guilty, for drawing Hurd into criminal activity.

Lions sign Norwegian kicker

SAN DIEGO — The Detroit Lions are giving a Norwegian Internet kicking sensation a shot to make the team. Detroit signed kicker Havard Rugland, declining to disclose details of the deal.

With the move, the Lions seem to be giving newly acquired kicker David Akers some competition or at least provide some depth at the position for practice. Detroit recently signed Akers after Jason Hanson retired.

A trick-shot video — called "Kickalicious" — Rugland posted in September has more than 2.7 million views.


• Backup safety Chris Maragos signed his one-year contract tender with the Seahawks. Maragos was a restricted free agent and a special-teams standout for Seattle.

• Star cornerback Darrelle Revis has started to run again as he rehabilitates from a torn knee ligament while his future with the New York Jets remains uncertain.

• The New Orleans Saints and free-agent offensive tackle Jason Smith agreed to a one-year deal.

• Denver Broncos defensive lineman Mitch Unrein signed a one-year, $630,000 tender.

• The New England Patriots re-signed wide receiver Julian Edelman. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation for assaulting a police officer outside a Lincoln, Neb., bar last year.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct in connection with his New York City gun arrest.

• The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent linebacker Josh McNary and placed him on the team's reserve-military list.

• The Oakland Raiders signed safety Reggie Smith and running back Rashad Jennings to free-agent contracts.

• The Cleveland Browns acquired running back Dion Lewis from the Philadelphia Eagles for linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

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