Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Former NFL receiver Sam Hurd gets 15 years in prison

Former Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced by a federal judge to 15 years in prison on a drug trafficking conviction.

Hurd admitted to buying and distributing marijuana but denied any trafficking of cocaine.

“I am very sorry. I am very remorseful for what I did,” Hurd said.

U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis could have sentenced Hurd to anywhere from 10 years to life in prison.

“It’s a tragedy,” Solis told Hurd before issuing the 15-year sentence. “You had everything going for you. You had no reason to get involved in this activity.”

Hurd was arrested in December 2011 outside a Morton's steakhouse near Chicago after accepting a kilogram of cocaine from an undercover officer. Inside the restaurant, prosecutors alleged, Hurd told the officer and an informant that he wanted to buy 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana weekly to distribute. Outside, he got into his vehicle and within moments police surrounded him. Authorities arrested Hurd, capping a more than year-long investigation.

Hurd told the judge that his marijuana addiction led him to make decisions.

Lately it seems like the addiction card is being thrown around lately. Marijuana didn't make Hurd want to be a distributor, Hurd made Hurd want to be a distributor. He made good enough money doing something lots of us will never be able to do in our wildest dreams but he had to screw it up. While 15 years might be a long time, the part of him dealing with cocaine probably got him more years than he might've deserved.

Hopefully professional athletes will take a look at Hurd and leave the street activity out of sports.

New York Mets targeting Nelson Cruz

With the team finally being able to shed the cumbersome contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay, the New York Mets are looking to add some power to their lineup.

One name being mentioned is Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz. Cruz turned down the Rangers' one year $14 million offer in search of a multi-year conract. Cruz who is 33, was involved in the Biogenesis scandal reportedly is being targeted by the Mets, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.

The Mets are trying to challenge in the NL East and may feel that Cruz can help get them there. The team is looking to get some pop in the lineup and have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Curtis Granderson.

The Mets are hesitant to spend big for outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shi Soo Choo. and are looking at the second tier and more affordable options.

Cruz served a 50 game suspension for his role in a PED scandal, but since he has never hit less than 22 home runs and  never driving in less than 76 runs  in the last five seasons teams might be willing to overlook the possible baggage he brings to the table.

Bucks' Larry Sanders cited in January for leaving his dogs in the cold

Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders is having a rough season so far. After signing a contract extension worth $44 million, sanders has had some tough going.

He had surgery on a torn ligament in his thumb that was injured in a bar fight he was involved in on November 2. He's expected to be out six weeks as he recovers from the surgery and the injury. Before that he was doing some chirping about his lack of playing time. Now he has to deal with another hit to his image as the Milwaukee Wisconsin Sentinel Journal reported that Sanders was cited twice in January for cruelty to animals.

Sanders paid $330 in fines for the two citations.

According to court records, a neighbor called police to say Sanders kept his two German shepherd puppies outside in the cold for hours without proper shelter, food and water.

The person said she tried to speak with Sanders about his dogs but felt intimidated and was told by Sanders to leave his property. The neighbor said Sanders told her that he was going to call the police if she returned, court records say.

On Jan. 3, police attempted to contact Sanders but were unsuccessful. An officer went to Sanders' home in the 3200 block of N. Lake Drive, and saw the two puppies in the backyard with no shelter, food or water.

The officer noted that the temperature outside was 17 degrees.

Police notified the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission to retrieve the dogs. An employee of the center determined the dogs "were in harm and needed to be removed," according to the police report.

On Jan. 4, police went back to Sanders' home, met with Sanders and issued the two citations.

Not quite on par with Michael Vick but you still don't leave pets out in 17 degree weather.

Pistons' Josh Smith says he isn't upset about benching during loss to Golden State

Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith says he was not upset at his noticeable lack of playing time in Tuesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Smith, who signed a $54 million deal to join the Pistons in the offseason, scored just two points in a season-low 19 minutes Tuesday. But Smith insisted he did not take the benching personally.

Josh Smith played a season-low 19 minutes in the Pistons' 113-95 loss Tuesday at Golden State.

"I just got to cheer my teammates on," Smith told reporters, according to the Detroit Free Press. "You can't really focus on the decisions that people make higher than you. You just have to be able to adjust around it.

"As long as I've been in this league, that's what I've been willing to do."

Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said he was disappointed in the team's effort against the Warriors, who raced out to a 35-16 lead after the first quarter and led by as many as 29 points.

Smith was subbed out with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter and did not return until midway through the third quarter. But Cheeks said he was not trying to deliver a message to the high-priced forward.

"It's about trying to change some things up," Cheeks said, according to the Free Press. "It wasn't about sending a message; just trying to change some things up to see if we could get some things going."

When asked whether his lack of playing time was meant to send a message, Smith told the website, "You never know."

"You can't really let it affect your thought process," Smith told the website. "You just have to roll with the punches.

"I'm not a selfish player, so I'm not going to go in there and demand plays be ran for me. I just kind of look around and see what in the game is being forced my way, or given my way, and just work my way around it."

Despite his low output Tuesday, Smith has averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for the Pistons (2-5), who are mired in a four-game losing streak.

"I think I can be effective offensively but, you know, it might be somebody else's night," he told the website. "You never know what it is. Like I said, I can't focus on things that I can't control."

"It Girl" of the week: Angelina Polska

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Angelina Polska.

Jerry Rice says Calvin Johnson has work to do to be the greatest ever

Is the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson the NFL’s greatest receiver ever? He might be, some say.

But the guy who holds most of the career records, Jerry Rice, said Megatron will have to get a lot closer to them before he gets in the conversation.

“I think it’s great that they’re still talking about me after my career’s over,” Rice told USA Today. “He still has a ways to go.

“We’re just going to let this guy continue to develop, and if he should break the majority of my records or break all my records, I’ll be the first one to congratulate him.”

Rice, 51, holds the NFL career receiving records of 1,549 catches, 22,895 yards and 197 TDs over 20 seasons. Johnson, 28, has 541 receptions for 8,740 yards and 63 TDs in seven seasons.

To some Rice may sound like a bitter old man, but he is correct. Johnson will have to perform at a peak level to put up the numbers Rice did when he was playing. In all fairness Rice always had John Taylor on the other side of the field to draw coverage away from him, played on a dominant San Francisco 49ers team and had Joe Montana throwing him the ball.

If Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay healthy and productive, Johnson might be able to achieve the stats that Rice built up during his career.