COVINGTON, Ky. -- Free-agent wide receiver Jerome Simpson was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in jail and three years' probation on a felony drug-related charge.
The judge agreed to the defense request to allow Simpson to wait until 6 p.m. to turn himself in at the jail. Simpson also will have to serve 200 hours of community service, undergo drug testing and pay a $7,500 fine plus court costs.
Simpson, now an unrestricted free agent after four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, pleaded guilty March 1 to the felony charge resulting from about 2 pounds of marijuana shipped to his northern Kentucky home in September. He was indicted on a felony charge of marijuana trafficking, but the plea agreement changed the charge to a prohibited act relating to controlled substances, also a felony.
Simpson, clad in a dark suit, briefly took the stand Thursday and apologized to his family, the community and his team.
"I take full responsibility for my actions," said Simpson, who also told the judge he believes that "because of this, I am a better person."
The Bengals said in a statement after the hearing that they believe Simpson "has, and will continue to, deal accountably with the consequences of his actions."
"Jerome is presently a free agent, and the club will continue to review his status," the Bengals said.
Simpson had been under investigation since agents tracked a package containing 2½ pounds of marijuana to his home. Authorities said a search of Simpson's home turned up one more pound of marijuana.
Simpson's attorney and agent said the receiver faces discipline from the NFL that could include suspension from multiple games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press