It didn't take long for the Buffalo Bills to have another player in the midst of legal trouble. After last offseason saw Marshawn Lynch and James Hardy in the center of controversy, safety Ko Simpson is now in trouble.
Simpson, 25, was arrested outside of a bar in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C. when he refused to leave the police alone while they arrested another man. The domino effect started when Simpson was in a speeding car in the bar parking lot at approximately 2 a.m. on New Year's Day. According to the police report, the driver and another passenger in the car were arrested for disorderly conduct after they yelled and cussed at police.
And then Simpson became involved.
The Bills' starting free safety began yelling at officers. "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills." He then screamed multiple times, "I am worth millions!" The officers gave Simpson a chance, telling him to leave the parking lot. Simpson started to walk away, but then reversed direction back to police and continue to yell, police said. Police arrested Simpson in fear that his loud behavior may prompt the large crowd in the lot to turn against them.
According to Rock Hill jail officials, in an Associated Press report, Simpson was charged with hindering police and released on a $470 bond.
After an ankle injury kept him out for most of 2007, Simpson played in all 16 games this year for the Bills. He finished with two interceptions and 66 tackles.
Once, it's a rarity. Twice, is troublesome. Three times, means it's time to talk about it.
Simpson's run-in with the law shouldn't be forgotten as the off-season proceeds. Last year Hardy allegedly pulled a gun on his father and Lynch's hush-hush hit-and-run case lingered for more than a month. It's time for the Bills to re-consider how they recruit personnel. Maybe teams in the NFL (Indianapolis, New England, Green Bay) openly draft high-character players. Others (Cincinnati, most other teams) don't. Rather than let Simpson's embarrassing incident slide as just another player letting money get to his head, maybe Buffalo should alter its drafting credo.
Loading a roster with blue-collar players fosters team cohesion. That's not corny. That's an ingredient to success. Bill Belichick doesn't tolerate holliganism. Accountability reigns in Foxborough, and the result was three Super Bowls. This time of year the Bills should be doing some serious soul-searching. Just because Dick Jauron is sticking around as head coach doesn't mean changes in structure shouldn't be made. This April, character must be a keynote quality in drafting college prospects.
Roger Goodell isn't mincing words when he vows to crack down on foul play in the NFL. The last thing he wants is for the league to erode into the NBA. Image is everything. Fans genuinely care about how athletes act off the field. As these arrests continue, the Bills' image suffers. By coming forward and promising to draft high-character players --- as Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy vow to draft "Packer People" out in Wisconsin --- the Bills could take a step forward in this mess. Before the Bills drafted Hardy and Lynch, both players had cloudy character concerns. Russ Brandon and company should investigate the history of prospects from now on. It'd be a smart way to turn this latest negative into a positive.