The news of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s unexpected death shocked the sports world Monday. Jackson, 38, spent 12 years in the NFL, with three of those seasons earning him Pro-Bowl honors. While Jackson was known for his talents on the field, his impact off the field did not go unnoticed.
Vincent Jackson found dead in a Florida hotel
Vincent Jackson, a 6-foot-5 former wide receiver with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was found dead at a Florida hotel Monday. According to an ESPN report, Jackson was reported missing by his family on Wednesday. Police tracked him down at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Florida, on Friday and confirmed his well-being.
On Monday, the body of the 38-year-old Jackson was found at approximately 11:30 a.m. at the Homewood Suites. Police said there were no signs of trauma. Staff at the Homewood Suites said Jackson had checked into the hotel on Jan. 11 and stayed there since.
Jackson was a South Tampa resident and played the last five years of his NFL career with the Buccaneers. Jackson was a three-time Pro Bowler who had six seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 of the 2016 season and never played again. Jackson announced his retirement in May of 2018.
Vincent Jackson created a foundation to help military families
Both of Vincent Jackson’s parents served in the United States Armed Forces. Jackson created a foundation, the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation, a nonprofit to support military families. The goal, according to its website, is to provide support to military families. The foundation also aims to focus on the educational, emotional, and physical health of children in military families.
Jackson developed his foundation in 2012. The foundation has a long-term goal of becoming a comprehensive resource for military families facing deployment. Jackson put others first, and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Jackson was a role model in the community.
“Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else,” Chronister said in a statement, according to ESPN. “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 Bucs nominated Jackson for the Walter Payton award four times
While most NFL fans remember Vincent Jackson as a top-notch wide receiver, he was much more than that. He was a father and a husband first. Jackson also was a mentor to many, including his former teammates and to people throughout his community.
Each year, the NFL honors the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award honors the player’s excellence on the field and his volunteer and charity work off it. Each team nominates a player for the award and a winner is announced at the end of the season. In four out of the five years Jackson was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was the team’s nominee.
Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer acknowledged Jackson’s efforts off the field in a statement posted on Twitter. “(Jackson) 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,” Glazer said.