Updated: 2:15 p.m.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis didn’t rule out wide receiver Jerome Simpson from Sunday’s game against the 49ers (1 p.m.- 1530 ESPN) at Paul Brown Stadium after he’d been excused from practice for the second straight day Friday morning.
“We’re talking to people to see what the best thing is for Jerome,” Lewis said after Friday’s practice. “Any decision I make on it is going to be what people recommend to me is the best thing for him.”
Simpson, a fourth-year wide receiver coming off his third 100-yard game in his sixth NFL start, is under investigation after marijuana was delivered to his Northern Kentucky home and more was found inside along with drug paraphernalia.
It has been a shock wave because during his career here, especially during the lockout, the 25-year-old Simpson has always been one of the more active Bengals in the charities.
“We’ve got to continue to support him and help him that way,” Lewis said. “There hasn’t been a non-profit, a school visit, a visit to a hospital, anything, that Jerome Simpson hasn’t been involved in. He’s done as much as anyone on this football team at going out and being a part of the community and doing his part and I think that’s why everyone feels the way they do.”
Lewis admitted that the investigation comes under the "distractions" heading rather than adversity, but with several of his players from the 2009 AFC North title team that went through the death of Chris Henry and Vikki Zimmer still around he thinks they can get it handled.
“Tragedies. Tragedies,” Lewis said. “I would say this was a distraction and now we have to focus back in and take care of business. You have to go back and not let that be the focus. We’ve got a job to do. It’s a big game, our home opener. I’m excited for our fans to come out and have a great time. When Jerome comes back to join his teammates, we’ll reach out like we’ve always done.”
Lewis indicated the club had been aware of the case, but didn’t know “it would go public” the way it has.
On Thursday, Lewis had cleared offensive lineman
"This past Tuesday morning I stopped by the house of my teammate, Jerome Simpson, on my way to the stadium. While I was at his home, several law enforcement officers unexpectedly entered the house. I had no idea what it was about and after identifying myself and speaking to the officers, they let me go on my way.
"Unfortunately I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, I do want to take this opportunity to let my fans, friends and family know that I had no part in the reported activities at Jerome's home. I have done nothing wrong and I have not been charged with doing anything wrong. So far as I know, I am no longer a part of any investigation.
"In due time, I am confident that authorities will clear my name and announce I am not a person of interest and my name will be completely cleared from Tuesday’s incident. In the meantime, my focus will continue to be on playing football and helping my teammates, coaches and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals organization have a successful 2011 season."
Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders responded to the statement with an e-mail to media that said Kentucky law enforcement, to his knowledge, never released Collins’ name "to the press."
“I am not aware of any evidence that would contradict Mr. Collins statement,” Sanders said in his statement. “Anyone who implied Mr. Collins was involved in criminal activity probably owes him an apology.”
The Bengals went to work Friday picking through the debris of Thursday’s news cycle that featured Simpson’s problems and running back
“Yesterday’s news,” said center