'Gentle Giant' Found Dead in Hotel Room Had CTE: Family

Vincent Jackson's loved ones have donated his brain to Boston University
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2021 6:50 PM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2021 7:35 AM CST
Vincent Jackson Dies at 38, NFL Receiver for 12 Seasons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) attends drills at an NFL minicamp in Tampa in 2016.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

Update: The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver found dead in a Florida hotel room in February had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, his family announced Thursday, per NBC News. Vincent Jackson, who died at the age of 38, had stage 2 CTE, widow Lindsey Jackson said in a statement. She added that the family donated his brain to Boston University's VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. "Vincent Jackson was a brilliant, disciplined, gentle giant whose life began to change in his mid-30s," Dr. Ann McKee, head of the brain bank, says in a release. "That his brain showed stage 2 CTE should no longer surprise us; these results have become commonplace." Our original story from Feb. 15 follows:

Vincent Jackson, 38, an NFL wide receiver for 12 seasons who last played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, has died. His body was found Monday in a Brandon, Fla., hotel room, sheriff's officials said, after his family had reported him missing on Wednesday. Jackson had checked in Jan. 11, ESPN reports. No signs of trauma were apparent, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has begun an investigation. Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer issued a statement, per CBS, calling Jackson "a consummate professional" in the five years he played for Tampa Bay. "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 team nominated him four times for Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Jackson began his career as a second-round draft pick in San Diego, playing seven seasons for the Chargers. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2009, 2011, and 2012. He announced his retirement in 2018. Jackson had a combined 540 catches for 9,080 yards for the two teams and 57 touchdowns. In a statement, the Chargers called Jackson 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." Former teammates and others posted their grief and condolences to Jackson's family, per the Washington Post. "Thank you for everything I love you big bro," Mike Evans posted. "Vincent was a friend who always understood what it meant to lead," tweeted DeMaurice Smith of the NFL Players Association. "I will miss him." (More NFL stories.)

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