Simpson plays despite being target of drug investigation

Former Coastal Carolina star and current Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson caught one pass for six yards in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers despite missing practices leading up to the game following a police search that turned up 8.5 pounds of marijuana at his home.

Simpson’s home was swarmed by narcotics authorities Tuesday after a package of 2.5 pounds of marijuana was delivered to his house. Police were given permission to search the residence and turned up 6 more pounds of pot, but no arrests have been made in the case.

Simpson was excused from practice Thursday and Friday. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that his wide receiver was cooperating with authorities, who claim the shipment of California-grown weed was delivered to Simpson’s home and accepted by his girlfriend, Aleen Smith. Simpson and teammate Anthony Collins also were present at the time of the delivery, but Collins issued a statement Friday saying he was not part of the investigation.

“This past Tuesday morning I stopped by the house of my teammate, Jerome Simpson, on my way to the stadium.  While I was at his home, several law enforcement officers unexpectedly entered the house.  I had no idea what it was about and after identifying myself and speaking to the officers, they let me go on my way.

“Unfortunately I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  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.

“In due time, I am confident that authorities will clear my name and announce I am not a person of interest and my name will be completely cleared from Tuesday’s incident.  In the meantime, my focus will continue to be on playing football and helping my teammates, coaches and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals organization have a successful 2011 season.”

Simpson has said nothing in response to Tuesday’s incident and authorities have provided little information, saying only that the investigation is ongoing. Tommy LaNier, head of the National Marijuana Initiative, told CaliforniaWatch: “The house was set up as a potential distribution network. They had it all set up to receive supplies of high-grade marijuana from Northern California, and from there, it was being distributed from that residence.”

Simpson, who was drafted out of Coastal Carolina in the second round of the 2008 draft, has emerged as one of the team’s top targets this season, catching four passes for a career-high 136 yards in last Sunday’s loss at Denver.

 

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