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updated: 11/13/2013 7:19 PM

Bears coach remembers Hurd as 'great guy'

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  • FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2011, file photo, Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd watches teammates practice during NFL football training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. Hurd was sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, to 15 years in prison for his role in starting a drug-distribution scheme while playing for the Bears, completing a steep downfall that ended his football career. Hurd, 28, received the punishment in a federal courtroom in Dallas after pleading guilty in April to one count of trying to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana.

      FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2011, file photo, Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd watches teammates practice during NFL football training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. Hurd was sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, to 15 years in prison for his role in starting a drug-distribution scheme while playing for the Bears, completing a steep downfall that ended his football career. Hurd, 28, received the punishment in a federal courtroom in Dallas after pleading guilty in April to one count of trying to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana.

 
 

Former Bears and Cowboys wide receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a drug distribution scheme.

He was arrested in 2011 outside a Morton's Steak House in Rosemont after arranging to buy cocaine from undercover agents.

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"It's a tragedy, really, because the things that really don't come out are how good a wife he had," said Bears special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who held that title with the Cowboys when Hurd played there. "He's got family that depended upon him. My saying is always, 'You don't know somebody until you live or work with him.' Sam would have been the last person I would have thought that out of."

After DeCamillis was seriously injured when the Cowboys' practice facility collapsed in 2009, he said Hurd reached out to him.

"He was a great guy to me," DeCamillis said. "When I got hurt, he was a guy that was just always in your corner, always helping you out anytime he could. It's just a shame. Hopefully he can recoup some of his life and get started anew. That's what I'm hoping for and praying for. If I could ever support Sam, I would support him."

Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff also played with Hurd in Dallas.

"All I can say is, 'Choices,' and I'm going to leave it at that," Ratliff said. "I wasn't there to see what happened and of course wasn't involved or anything. But still, as an old teammate and a friend, my prayers are with him and his family."

Waiting for help:

Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff still isn't practicing because of a groin injury, but he's getting closer.

"I'm just taking it one day at a time," the former Cowboy said. "I'm going with the plan that they've given me, and I'm looking forward to being in there soon."

Coach Marc Trestman isn't sure when to expect Ratliff on the field, but he could help an injury-depleted line.

"I know the reputation he's had from talking to coaches who have played against him," Trestman said. "He was one of the most difficult players to play against when he was playing at his best. (Former Eagles coach) Andy Reid (said he was) a very difficult guy to play against and other coaches I've talked to as well. He's here to get himself restarted. Hopefully he'll make a contribution before we go too much further."

Youth movement:

Even though the Bears list five rookies as starters on their depth chart, but only four of them were in Sunday's starting lineup.

Right tackle Jordan Mills and right guard Kyle Long started on the offensive line for the ninth straight game, David Bass started his first NFL game at defensive left end, and Jon Bostic opened the game at middle linebacker for the third straight game. Khaseem Greene remains the No. 1 weak-side linebacker until Lance Briggs returns from a fractured shoulder, but the Bears started the game in nickel defense with extra cornerback Isaiah Frey, a first-year player who spent his rookie season last year on the practice squad, replacing Greene.

The last time the Bears started four rookies was Dec. 28, 2003, Briggs, quarterback Rex Grossman, cornerback Charles Tillman and wide receiver Bobby Wade all started the season finale at Kansas City.

Injury report:

Quarterback Jay Cutler (ankle) and linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) did not practice and are out Sunday.

Defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring), long-snapper Patrick Mannelly and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (groin) also did not practice.

Filling in gaps:

Safety Derrick Martin was signed to a one-year contract Wednesday to take Charles Tillman's vacated spot on the roster. The 5 feet, 10 inch, 198-pound Martin has played in 66 games with four starts over seven seasons.

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