ESPN reported Thursday that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has joined the Colts head coaching derby with Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael while still in the mix for the Buccaneers job.
There are no indications that an interview has been scheduled. Zimmer, who interviewed for the Dolphins top job last weekend and didn't get it, interviewed for the Tampa Bay job this past Tuesday.
Zimmer, who just finished his 12th season as an NFL coordinator, has the edge over both in the experience category with Gray and Carmichael combining for nine coordinator seasons.
SIMPSON COULD FACE FOUR-GAME SUSPENSION:The other shoe fell four months later Thursday when Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson was indicted on one count of trafficking marijuana in excess of eight ounces with a Jan. 30 arraignment scheduled for Kenton Circuit Court in Kentucky.
The Cincinnati Enquirer said that's a felony punishable by one to five years in jail, but there were indications Thursday that Simpson's cooperation and the fact it's his first offense could result in probation as well as diversion programs.
Simpson's lawyer told the paper that his client is not accused of selling marijuana and said that the word "trafficking" can still be used in the indictment even if there is no proof of a sale because according to Kentucky law there was more than eight ounces in possession.
A first offense against the NFL's substance abuse policy is subject to a four-game suspension, although the league doesn't usually rule until the case has been resolved.
Kenton Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders told The Enquirer that the total marijuana recovered at Simpson's home back in September was just less than three pounds.
The Bengals, who had no comment Thursday, are in the process of evaluating which of their free agents to re-sign. Whether they re-sign Simpson or not, they still have to make sure they're covered for a No. 2 receiver in case of a suspension.
While Simpson exasperated his coaches at times this season with his baffling inconsistency, he also wowed them with what receivers coach James Urban called dynamic and spectacular plays. As he learned a new offense in his first full season as a starter, Simpson caught 50 balls for four touchdowns and a 14.5-yard average that had several moments of upside.