Updates from Thursday, Sept. 18
A few hours after word came out that Jerome Simpson had been cited for misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, driving with an open bottle and violating limited license restrictions, the Vikings took swift action against him:
Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
The Vikings announced Jerome Simpson's suspension on the team's official website:
Jerome Simpson of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Simpson will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster on Monday, September 22 following the team’s September 21 game against the New Orleans Saints.
NFL contract analyst Brian McIntyre later provided financial insight:
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson missed practice on Monday as he appeals an expected three-game suspension from the NFL for an arrest last November.
Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press reports Simpson traveled to New York for a hearing with hope of lessening or eliminating the punishment. He was arrested for drunk driving after refusing chemical testing before pleading guilty to lesser charges and completing community service.
The report also includes comments from his lawyer, David Valentini, who said the suspension is unwarranted because there isn't enough evidence.
"We made our case and believe Jerome should not be suspended under the totality of the evidence," he said. "Our argument was that if he had taken the test he would have passed it."
Brian Hall of FoxSports.com had more from Simpson and his lawyer on the situation:
"I just told them the truth," Simpson said Tuesday of his meeting with Henderson. "Told them the truth. The records and the facts show what happened." ...
Valentini said that Simpson consulted a Kentucky lawyer, who advised him to refuse the test. Valentini believes Simpson shouldn't be suspended "under the totality" of the evidence in the case, which includes Simpson refusing the test as well as the misdemeanor charge of careless driving.
Both the team and the league declined to comment on the situation.
It's more complicated than most punishments of this nature because Simpson was already suspended once under a different part of the player-conduct rules for felony drug charges. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk sheds some added light on the details:
It's his first alcohol-related offense, which means that the standard penalty would be a pair of game checks. But his history under the substance-abuse policy—Simpson's three-game suspension in 2012 arose from felony drug charges—puts him in line for a suspension following a first offense for an alcohol-related violation of the law.
Repeat offenders are always subject to more severe suspensions. But since it's a different type of charge and they were eventually changed, Simpson and his representative clearly don't feel being sidelined three games is fair.
He's slated to serve as the team's No. 3 receiver this season behind Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson. If he's forced to miss any time due to a suspension, Jarius Wright will likely take on a bigger role with tight end Kyle Rudolph also seeing some extra targets.
Given the complex nature of the personal-conduct rules and the appeals process, it's tough to predict whether Simpson will have any success. Now that he's laid out his case, all he and the Vikings can do is sit back and wait for a final ruling with the regular season on the horizon.