Jerome Simpson avoided jail time and may have helped himself avoid a suspension next season by getting a charge of driving while intoxicated dropped in court Thursday.
Simpson knows, however, that his last arrest, in November, could hurt his chances to re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings, and likely will affect his value if he does re-sign with the team that gave him two one-year contracts over the last two years to prove his case both on and off the field.
"They've got something against me now. It's another strike against me, I guess," Simpson said last month when asked about his legal issues in relation to re-signing with the Vikings before he hits free agency. "They know my character is better than that, but they won't have to worry about it. I've just got to show them and keep playing hard and the contract stuff will work itself out."
In exchange for having the DWI charge dropped Thursday, Simpson pled guilty to careless driving and refusing to take a DWI test. He will also serve 120 hours of community service.
But it was also the second time Simpson has been arrested and been in court. On March 1, 2012, Simpson had felony charges waged against him after marijuana was shipped to his Kentucky home. He was sentenced to 15 days in jails, 200 hours of community service and put on probation for three years.
In March, Simpson signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract with the Vikings after an injury-plagued 2012 with the team. It was the second one-year contract because he hadn't proved he could be a consistent, productive threat on the field. His latest incident will give cause for pause again with a long-term contract.
Simpson said a new contract "will work itself out when the time comes," but he was hoping to make the Vikings his team again in 2014 – at least that was the case before Leslie Frazier was fired.
"Hopefully I am back in a Vikings uniform because I love this place, I love playing for these coaches. I love everything around here – the media staff, they're great. Marketing, everything, they're awesome," he said. "I love doing the charity work that we do here with the Vikings, especially every Tuesday when we're out in the community. That's one thing I have a passion for. I love doing that here. I just love this environment. I love the Minnesota people there. They show the love; they don't pass any judgment towards me and this is a place that I'd love to be."
When he signed with the Vikings, the coaching staff and front office became intrigued with his athleticism during the 2012 offseason workouts. But a nerve injury in September derailed his production and he caught only 26 passes for 274 yards.
This year, he was healthy for every game and caught 48 passes for 726 yards and one touchdown. It was two receptions shy of his career high with the Cincinnati Bengals and one yard more than his 2011 season produced there. His 15.1-yard average per catch in 2013 was also a career best.
But after his latest arrest and with the emergence of rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, Simpson's starting time dwindled. He started seven of the first nine games, but only one of the final seven games.
Like many players, stability is something Simpson desires.
"I want a multi-year deal because I just want to be able to not be on pins and needles, which might be the nature," he said. "With this league, that is kind of every year and so it really doesn't matter if you do get a multi-year deal. But I just kind of want to have that confidence that they really want me here for a good while."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Simpson: Arrest ‘another strike against me'
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