Authorities have revealed that former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead on February 17 in a Florida hotel room. Police say the 38-year-old had been staying at the Homewood Suites in the Tampa suburb of Brandon since January this year.
Jackson had been reported missing by his family on February 10, with deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office locating the former wide receiver two days later. The deputies were able to speak with Jackson at the hotel and after assessing his wellbeing, the missing persons report was cancelled.
A housekeeper found Jackson dead just days later. The sheriff’s office said that there were no apparent signs of trauma and that the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death as soon as it is able to.
“My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else.”
Jackson’s NFL career spanned 12 seasons, playing first for the then-San Diego Chargers (2005-11), then seeing out his playing days in Florida with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-16). The three-time Pro Bowl selection caught 540 passes for 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns in 155 games.
Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear the terrible news regarding the loss of Vincent Jackson. During his five seasons with our franchise, Vincent was a consummate professional, who took great 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.”
Posting six 1,000-yard seasons throughout his career, Jackson led the NFL with 19.2 yards per reception in his first season with the Buccaneers in 2012.
The Colorado native emerged as a top receiver after catching 18 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns in three games during the 2007 postseason. The Chargers lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Hillsborough county sheriff Chad Chronister also said this week that Jackson struggled with alcoholism and other health issues before he was found dead in a Florida hotel room.
This has led to speculation that Jackson’s death may be related to alcoholism, with some even suggesting CTE. Jackson’s family have asked that Jackson’s memory be respected at this time and to wait for the autopsy before making any assumptions.
“It could be several weeks before we know what led to the untimely and tragic death of Vincent Jackson,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in the statement. “The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office continues to conduct a thorough investigation alongside the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Based on statements made by relatives of Jackson to detectives, his family had reason to believe he may have suffered from chronic alcoholism and concussions, however, the exact cause and manner of Mr. Jackson’s death will not be certain until his autopsy, among other reports, is complete.”
“The manner and cause of death are pending further study,” said Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office spokesperson Michelle Van Dyke. “It could take up to several months for a formal autopsy report, depending on what tests need to be run.”
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and teammate Gerald McCoy said, “It pains me to see this happen to such a great person at such a young age. A person who was more than a football player, he was a great husband and father who spent his life trying to help other people.
“Spreading love and joy and doing everything in his power to make the next man smile. Somebody I considered to be more than a teammate, he was truly a friend and one of my mentors in my young age of the NFL. My nickname for him was “the ultimate pro” because he did everything right. Off the field, nutrition, taking care of his body, working out, off-season, practice habits and especially on game day. He was a true example of how we should be as professionals and more importantly men. He will truly be missed!! Love you Jack!!”
“You come in as teammates and you leave as brothers, some things are hard to understand and hard figure out why but I’m not questioning God’s plans. I’m going to miss those occasional calls to call me soft and me saying come say it to my face Sweety pie,” former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman tweeted.