Former Coastal Carolina standout and current Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson entered a not-guilty plea on one count of marijuana trafficking on Monday in Kenton County Circuit Court in Covington, Ky.
Simpson was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 19. The felony is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison, but prosecutors had said Simpson may be eligible for pre-trail intervention and avoid any jail time. His not-guilty plea may be a sign that a plea deal is not imminent.
Federal authorities swarmed his Crestview Hills townhouse in September and seized a package containing 2.5 pounds of California marijuana that had been shipped to the residence. Inside the home investigators found about 6 more pounds of marijuana, scales and smoking devices.
When the package arrived, Simpson’s 27-year-old acquaintance, Aleen Smith, accepted it from the delivery man, according to authorities. Teammate Anthony Collins was at the home when the package was delivered but was not indicted on Thursday.
Simpson gained national attention in December with his 19-yard TD catch that ended with a front flip over Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington from the 2-yard line into the end zone.
The second-round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina just completed his fourth year with the Bengals and is now an unrestricted free agent. He is coming off his best season, catching 53 passes for 758 yards and four touchdowns.