Pot found at Jerome Simpson's home

Updated: September 23, 2011, 1:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Police on Wednesday confiscated a package containing 2.5 pounds of marijuana shipped from California to the home of Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson in northern Kentucky.

Bengals tackle Anthony Collins also was present at the house, along with a woman who signed for the package.

Simpson Simpson was excused from the Bengals' practice on Thursday. In an interview with Sirius/XM Radio on Thursday, coach Marvin Lewis said that Simpson was cooperating with authorities.

Police also found 6 more pounds of pot inside the house as well as drug paraphernalia such as "packaging materials, scales and smoking devices," California Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Police detained the players but didn't arrest them and no charges have been filed. The case will be addressed Thursday by the Kenton County (Ky.) prosecutor's office.

Collins released a statement through his attorney on Friday.

"Unfortunately I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Collins said in the statement. "However, I do want to take this opportunity to let my fans, friends and family know that I had no part in the reported activities at Jerome's home.

"I have done nothing wrong and I have not been charged with doing anything wrong. So far as I know, I am no longer a part of any investigation."

The case is being investigated by police at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, along with other local authorities.

Calls to the agents for Simpson and Collins went unreturned.

"The house was set up as a potential distribution network," Tommy LaNier, head of the National Marijuana Initiative, told CaliforniaWatch.org, which broke the story.

A spokesman for the Bengals acknowledged the team was aware of the reports but did not offer any other comments. Both players participated in the team's practice on Wednesday.

Simpson was excused from the Bengals' practice on Thursday and was absent from Friday's practice. In an interview with Sirius/XM Radio on Thursday, coach Marvin Lewis said that Simpson was cooperating with authorities.

"I've been appraised of the situation for a few days now and unfortunately Anthony's name got put into it for no reason," Lewis said, according to the Enquirer. "It was at Jerome's house and it's an investigation that's going on. He's cooperating and doing what he can to help in the investigation."

The package originated in Eureka, Calif., part of the so-called Emerald Triangle, the state's vaunted pot-growing region, and was discovered by a drug-sniffing dog in Sacramento, Gregory said. The address label bore the name of Jason Snider, not Simpson's, but Gregory told The Associated Press that it's not unusual for people to use false names when sending illegal drugs through the mail.

A search of Simpson's home also turned up 6 more pounds of marijuana, smoking pipes and scales, authorities said.

"We don't believe (the package) was for personal use," Gregory told the AP. "We believe there's some sort of distribution or sales out of his home."

The Bengals had 10 players arrested during a 10-month span from April 2006 to June 2007. Receiver Chris Henry was the biggest repeat offender, one of the factors in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cracking down on player misconduct.

The Bengals created a stir when they decided to bring Henry back after his fifth arrest. He later died in a fall from his fiancee's truck.

Two players got arrested last summer, putting the Bengals back in the spotlight.

Last July, cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was arrested in downtown Cincinnati and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. Jones is currently on an injury list as he recovers from offseason neck surgery.

Running back Cedric Benson spent five days in a Texas jail before the start of the season, completing his sentence for two misdemeanor assault cases.

Law enforcement agents are trying to determine who sent the package to Simpson's home. There was no return label.

Gregory said if Kentucky authorities do not charge Simpson or others, California may consider that possibility.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.