Bengals WR Simpson pleads guilty to drug charge

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson pleaded guilty Thursday in a Kentucky court to a felony drug charge.

In September, police confiscated a package containing 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana that was being shipped from California to Simpson's Kentucky home. A woman accepted the package and Simpson was discovered inside along with teammate Anthony Collins.

Police asked to search the home and found another six pounds of marijuana, along with paraphernalia. Collins was not charged in the incident.

Simpson admitted to accepting the package and in exchange prosecutors modified the charge from one count of trafficking marijuana in excess of eight ounces to one count of prohibited acts relating to controlled substances. The penalty is the same for each of the charges -- one to five years in prison.

Prosecutor Rob Sanders recommended Simpson serve a 60-day jail sentence with a work release provision. Simpson would spend the rest of the sentence on probation, where he would have to perform 200 hours of community service and complete any drug treatment recommended by the state probation department.

"I don't think Mr. Simpson deserves any special treatment one way or the other," Sanders said outside the court room. "He doesn't deserve any special breaks, he doesn't deserve any harsher punishments, but it's important for the community to know that he's getting the exact same punishment that other people that come through this court with no criminal record and a similar charge get."

Simpson appeared in all 16 games for the Bengals this past season, starting 14, and had 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns. He caught three passes for 33 yards in Cincinnati's 31-10 playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

But his most memorable catch of the season came in Week 16 against Arizona, when Simpson scored a touchdown by soaring over a defender in a full forward somersault with the ball clutched in his right hand.

Simpson is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 13. He could face a suspension from the league for violating its personal conduct policy.