It was a little more than a week ago when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Wide receiver Mike Evans celebrated his first Super Bowl as his Bucs dominated the favored Kansas City Chiefs. Eight days later, Evans was mourning the death of his friend and mentor, former wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
Vincent Jackson was a 12-year NFL veteran
Vincent Jackson played his college football at Northern Colorado. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound wide receiver was a second-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft. The San Diego Chargers selected Jackson with the 61st overall pick.
Jackson spent the first seven years of his career with the Chargers. He had the best year of his Chargers career in 2009 when he made the first of his three career Pro Bowls. During that season, Jackson had 1,167 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games.
In 2012, Jackson signed a five-year deal worth $55 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year with the Bucs, Jackson had 72 catches for a career-high 1,384 yards. He added eight touchdowns and made his third Pro Bowl. Jackson played 12 years in the NFL, finishing with 57 touchdowns and 9,080 receiving yards.
Jackson was found dead in a Florida hotel room
According to the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, Vincent Jackson was found dead in a Florida hotel on Monday, ESPN reported. He was 38. Police said there was no sign of trauma.
ESPN reported that hotel staff said Jackson had checked in on Jan 11 and had been staying there ever since. Jackson, a South Tampa resident, was reported missing by his family Wednesday. Police located him at the hotel on Friday and confirmed his well-being, closing the missing persons case.
While Jackson was a three-time Pro Bowler on the field, he made an impact off the field as well. Jackson founded the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation, a nonprofit to support military families. He was also nominated four straight years by the Buccaneers as the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Mike Evans was mentored by Jackson in his early years
Mike Evans came into the NFL in 2014 after a stellar career at Texas A&M. Evan was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the seventh overall pick. In all seven seasons in the league, Evans has hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark. He’s made the Pro Bowl three times.
In that rookie season, Vincent Jackson took Evans under his wing and helped prep him for life in the NFL. Although Evans’ emergence brought down some of Jackson’s numbers, Jackson continued to mentor him. In 2014, both Jackson (1,002) and Evans (1,051) both hit the 1,000-yard mark as teammates.
Evans took to Twitter on Monday to show his love and appreciation for Jackson, who was found dead in a hotel Monday. “V Jax, thank you for everything,” Evans wrote. “I love you big bro. Praying for your family. Rest in Paradise.”
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.