Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC North [Print without images]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Schefter: Simpson suspended three games

By Jamison Hensley

Bengals free-agent wide receiver Jerome Simpson received a three-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Relatively speaking, Simpson couldn't have asked for a better resolution to his legal situation or his discipline from the NFL.

Simpson fared better than most expected after having about two pounds of marijuana shipped to his northern Kentucky home in September. Many presumed the NFL would suspend Simpson at least four games.

This comes in the same month he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years' probation for a felony charge. Simpson had struck a plea agreement for 60 days before a judge reduced the jail time.

While the Bengals should part ways with Simpson because of this baggage, his future with the team likely will be determined by the draft. The Bengals have three of the first 53 picks in this week's draft and could use one on a wide receiver to take Simpson's role as the No. 2 wide receiver. If the Bengals don't draft a wide receiver early in the draft, it should increase his chances of coming back to them.

Simpson, 26, recently visited the Minnesota Vikings, but this doesn't rule out his return to Cincinnati. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis sent a letter in support of Simpson to the judge before he was sentenced to 15 days in jail. The Bengals said in a statement after the hearing that they believe Simpson "has, and will continue to, deal accountably with the consequences of his actions."

He has been a disappointment as the Bengals' second-round pick in 2008, but he is coming off his most productive NFL season. After 21 catches in his first three seasons, Simpson set career highs in catches (50), yards (725) and touchdowns (four), which included a sensational somersault flip into the end zone.