Family and friends remembered Vincent Jackson in a small, private service on Wednesday. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver died unexpectedly on Feb. 15 at age 38.
Jackson’s body will be cremated, and his family will keep the ashes, which were his wishes, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
Stroud also shared a copy of the service program.
Jackson was reported dead on Feb. 15 by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office after being found by hotel staff at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Florida, where he had stayed since January 11. Sheriff Chad Chronister said Jackson lived with “chronic alcoholism” and other “long-standing health conditions” in an interview on Q105’s morning show on Feb. 17 after receiving the autopsy report.
Chronister added, per Q105, that Jackson’s family believed the three-time Pro Bowler suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy from multiple concussions in his NFL career. Jackson’s family donated his brain to Boston University for CTE research according to New York Times’ reporter Ken Belson.
Jackson played for the Bucs from 2012 to 2016 in his 12-year NFL career. He left behind his wife, Lindsey VanDeweghe, and three children.
Tributes to Jackson
Current and former players from the Bucs and around the NFL paid tributes to Jackson and offered their condolences on social media since Jackson’s Feb.15 death.
Bucs star wide receiver Mike Evans, who played three seasons with Jackson from 2014 to 2016, thanked Jackson for his impact on his life and assured his family of his prayers.
Brady replied to Evans’ Tweet with prayer emojis.
Bucs owner Bryan Glazer called Jackson a “consummate professional, who took a great deal of pride in his performance on and off the football field” in a Feb. 15 release. “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,” Glazer added.
Jackson’s other former team, the Los Angeles Chargers also posted a tribute on Feb. 15, calling his work in retirement “an inspiration to all of us.” He played for the Chargers in San Diego from 2005 to 20011.
Call to Change
Jackson’s death led to former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf speaking out again on CTE and for the NFL to do more to help former players. Leaf told TMZ Sports that his life almost ended the same way — “alone in a hotel room.”
“I just was really emotional. I can relate,” Leaf told TMZ Sports about Jackson’s death though he didn’t know him personally.
A former No. 2 pick, Leaf’s career didn’t go as planned and substance abuse ravaged his life according to USA Today. Leaf told TMZ Sports that he received support from former NFL players in his journey with addiction.
He wants the NFL to start treatment facilities for former players, he told TMZ Sports. USA Today concurred in its op-ed.
“The NFL discards its players like fans discarding empty beer cans after a game. It’s a dangerous business that advertises itself as wholesome,” Henry McKenna wrote for USA Today’s For The Win.
Leaf Jackson as someone who embodied the good of the NFL before his tragic death. Leaf told TMZ Sports that Jackson, “was a hell of a player and he’s done so much for his community and everything like that. Why couldn’t more have been done?”