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Bucs, community stunned by death of Vincent Jackson

Brian Hartz

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Vincent Jackson played for the Bucs from 2012 to 2016. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Jeffrey Beall.

Just a little over a week since the team won its second Super Bowl, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at Raymond James Stadium, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reeling from the death of Vincent Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who played for the Bucs from 2012 to 2016 and, after retiring, made his home in Tampa and launched a second act as a businessman and philanthropist.

Jackson, 38, was found dead in a Brandon hotel room around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, according to a statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The county medical examiner has yet to issue a cause of death, but the sheriff’s statement said there were no signs of traumatic injury on Jackson’s body.

Sheriff’s deputies made contact with Jackson at the Brandon Homewood Suites on Feb. 12, a day after he was officially reported missing by family members. They determined that the former Buc had been staying at the hotel since Jan. 11. The statement said a wellness check was performed but it’s not clear what, if any, determination was made as to Jackson’s mental and physical health.

Jackson, whose parents served in the U.S. Army, was an ardent supporter of veterans and military families via his philanthropic efforts.

“My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister stated in a news release. “Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else. Football aside, he touched countless lives through his Jackson In Action 83 Foundation. We shared a passion for supporting military families, and three years ago, Jackson was even made an honorary deputy by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to recognize his dedication to the community. He will be sorely missed by not only football fans across the country, but also the people here in Hillsborough County who reaped the benefits of his generous contributions.”

The Buccaneers organization also reacted to the news of Jackson’s passing, issuing a statement that hailed his many contributions to the team and the Tampa Bay community.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear the terrible news regarding the loss of Vincent Jackson,” Buccaneers owner and co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. “During his five years with our franchise, Vincent was a consummate professional who took a great deal of pride in his performance on and off the football field. Vincent was a dedicated father, husband, businessman and philanthropist who made a deep impact on our community through his unyielding advocacy for military families, supported by the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection for his accomplishments on the field, but his greatest achievements as a Buccaneer were the four consecutive nominations he earned as our Walter Payton Man of the Year. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Lindsey, and the entire Jackson family.”

General Manager Jason Licht, the architect of the Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning roster, also offered his condolences.

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans, one of the team’s longest-tenured players, reacted to his former teammate’s death.

The Chargers, who are now based in Los Angeles, also issued a statement that mourned the death of Jackson, whom they drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

On Wednesday, Chronister, in an interview with a local radio station, said Jackson’s death could be attributed to a combination of alcoholism and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition caused by concussions that can affect the mental health of football players.

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