Missing the first three weeks of the season is going to be difficult for Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson.
But at least he won’t have to depend on the “Iron Pimp.”
That was the name of the snack machine in the Kentucky jail where Simpson spent 15 days after pleading guilty to a felony drug charge, for having two pounds of marijuana shipped to his home. The “Iron Pimp” dispensed the Cheetos that got Simpson through his brief stay.
“That part of my life is out of my life,”Simpson told Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “You can take things for granted when you’re a person that’s free, but now that I’ve kind of had my freedom taken away from me, it’s not a good experience.”
For violating the league’s substance abuse policy, he’s suspended three games, and also required to submit to weekly drug tests.
He’s also on what amounts to football house-arrest, after the Vikings are pulling back his reps in practice to get other players ready for his absence. That had Simpson volunteering to work with the scout team just to stay busy.
But no matter the short-term pain, it’s better than an actual jail.
Simpson said fellow inmates were gracious to him, guards less so.
“Sometimes the guards, they kind of have their own egos of me being in the NFL,” Simpson said. “They tried to be a little tougher on me, watched me more. They never laid their hands on me though.”
Mostly, he’s trying to use him time inside as an object lesson, and a chance to turn himself around.
“A lot of guys told me, ‘Don’t come back here, man. This isn’t a place for you,’ ” Simpson said. “They would ask me for autographs. It lifted me up. Sometimes you don’t realize how you can affect people.”
His absence is going to affect the Vikings, who won’t have much in the way of receiving options besides Percy Harvin the first three weeks without him.