A Kenton County grand jury indicted the four-year veteran on one count of marijuana trafficking in excess of 8 ounces, a felony count that carries up to five years in jail. He's scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 30.
Simpson is the third Bengals player to get in trouble with the law since last July. Running back Cedric Benson served five days in a Texas jail for assault and was suspended for one game by the NFL. Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to disorderly conduct at a Cincinnati bar last summer and was sentenced to community service.
All three players can become free agents after completing the final years on their contracts.
Simpson has been under investigation since September, when agents from California tracked a package shipped to the receiver's home in northern Kentucky. They said it contained 2½ pounds of marijuana. No charges were filed at that time.
AFC Championship breakdown
Simpson's girlfriend accepted the package at the home, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Justice. Teammate Anthony Collins was visiting Simpson's home at the time but was cleared of any involvement.
A search of Simpson's home also turned up 6 more pounds of marijuana, smoking pipes and scales, authorities said.
Simpson finished third in catches on the team behind rookie receiver A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham. Simpson's most visible moment came in during a 23-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 24, when he vaulted over a linebacker and landed on his feet in the end zone like a gymnast.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press