Former NFL Player Found Dead at 38

Vincent Jackson

The body of former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was discovered by a housekeeper at around 11:30 a.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). He was only 38 years old.

Jackson, who was a South Tampa resident, checked into the hotel located on Palm River Road on Jan. 11. He had been staying there since then, hotel staff said.

On Feb. 10, Jackson’s family members called the sheriff’s office to report him missing. A formal report was filed on Feb. 11, and on Feb. 12, deputies found Jackson at the hotel. After assessing his well-being, the missing persons case was cancelled, according to HCSO.

Jackson’s 12 seasons in the NFL

Jackson played college football at the University of Northern Colorado where he was a standout player, according to the school.

He was drafted to the San Diego Chargers in 2005 and played there for six seasons, making the NFL Pro Bowl twice. He ultimately played 12 seasons in the league, spending his first seven with the Chargers and last five with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He went on to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — who won Super Bowl LV earlier this month — from 2012 until 2016. In 2012, he made a third appearance in the Pro Bowl.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Lindsey VanDeweghe, whom he wed in July 2011. The couple shared three children: Carter, Amaya and Dominick. After retiring from the NFL in 2016, Jackson and his family made South Tampa, Florida, their home.

Off of the field, the NFL star was committed to making an impact through his charitable efforts. He launched the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation in 2012 as a way to help support military families, focusing especially on kids’ educational, emotional and physical health.

“Many former athletes have a foundation. Few have the passion, commitment, execution and ultimately results that [Jackson] has demonstrated,” Jay Mize, a board member of the foundation, told Bold Business in March 2019. “He does it for the right reasons, does not care about the credit and in my opinion has created one of the strongest military-based foundations in the country, if not the strongest.”

The Chargers, now based out of Los Angeles, released a statement Monday saying the team was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news of Jackson’s death.

“Vincent was a fan favorite not only for his Pro Bowl play on the field but for the impact he made on the community off of it,” the statement read. “The work he has done on behalf of military families through his foundation in the years since his retirement has been an inspiration to all of us.”

The Buccaneers, who recently won the 2021 Super Bowl, said in a statement that Jackson was “a consummate professional” during his five years with the team.

“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,” the statement read.

Cause of Death

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office is working to determine the cause of death. There were no apparent signs of trauma, according to HCSO. 

The medical examiner is also working to officially identify Jackson’s remains based on dental records.

This investigation is ongoing.

Our prayers go out to the family of Jackson and his family.

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