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Football hero arrested on largest federal drug charges in NFL

Almost everyone in Milwaukee has idolized professional athletes. Whether you're cheering for the Packers or the Brewers, there are probably a few players you look up to. Athletes who were born and raised in Wisconsin, then moved on to professional sports seem to hold a special place in our hearts.

That is exactly how many people regarded NFL player Sam Hurd -- until he was arrested on federal drug charges.

Hurd grew up in a small town, and even after he made it into the NFL, he continued returning to his hometown to run football camps for local athletes. He volunteered with special-needs students at the high school, went to church regularly and held an annual Easter egg hunt.

Now he is facing drug charges that are unprecedented in the NFL. According to the criminal complaint, officers found $88,000 and marijuana inside his car, and they said he planned to buy as much as $700,000 worth of drugs each week.

If the allegations are true, Hurd may be aspiring to be not just a drug dealer, but a kingpin.

When people in Hurd's hometown heard about the charges, they couldn't believe it. A teacher with whom Hurd volunteers said, "People are dismayed. We don't want to believe it. There's got to be something we haven't heard yet."

That may be the case. Hurd has insisted on his innocence throughout the investigation.

Prior to his arrest, Hurd had a three-year, $5.15 million contract with the Bears. Although he hasn't been convicted, the Bears released Hurd. If he is convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

Source: The New York Times, "Dismay, Then Disbelief at Arrest of N.F.L. Player," Greg Bishop, Dec. 22, 2011

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