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SANTA CLARA – The 49ers did not activate wide receiver Jerome Simpson prior to their game Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

The league this week granted the 49ers a one-game roster exemption, giving the 49ers the option of waiting until Friday at 1 p.m. to make a decision whether to add Simpson to the 53-man roster or release him. All indications are that the 49ers plan to add him to their active roster. They must clear a roster spot to activate Simpson.

The NFL in August announced a six-game suspension for Simpson for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. He was allowed to attend meetings and take part in workouts during his suspension. However, he was not allowed to practice.

Simpson, 29, a six-year NFL veteran, was eligible to begin practice with the 49ers on Monday after serving his suspension.

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The 49ers signed Simpson to a two-year contract in in March with the full knowledge he might not be available for the beginning of the regular season due to a likely suspension, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said.

Simpson did not play last season after the Minnesota Vikings released him in September as he finished a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse as a repeat offender. In 2013 while with the Vikings, he caught 48 passes for a career-high 726 yards (15.1 average) and one touchdown.


It was the second suspension of his NFL career. Simpson pleaded guilty to a felony charge resulting from two pounds of marijuana being shipped to his home in Kentucky in September 2011 while he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.

He was arrested for suspicion of DWI in November 2013. Simpson was also cited in July 2014 on charges of marijuana possession, open container and violating the conditions of his limited drivers license.

Simpson caught three passes for 40 yards during the 49ers’ exhibition season this summer.