Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered from ‘chronic alcoholism’ that may have contributed to his sudden death on Monday, according to police, while his family believes that football injuries may have also played a factor.
Jackson was found dead by a housekeeper at a Homewood Suites in the Tampa suburb of Brandon on Monday morning. There were no signs of trauma. More details are expected to be revealed Wednesday afternoon.
‘We got the autopsy report that will be released today showed, unfortunately, he suffered from chronic alcoholism,’ Sheriff Chad Chronister told the MJ Morning Show.
According to Chronister, Jackson had a ‘long-standing health conditions that contributed to his passing because of some alcohol abuse.’
Chronister added some speculation, saying that the family believes that Jackson suffered from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
‘Well this is true speculation but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE,’ Chronister said. ‘They believe he had a lot of concussion problems and when you suffer from that, you’re not yourself.
‘[The family believes] wholeheartedly all of these actions are the result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.’
It’s currently unclear why Jackson had been staying at Homewood Suites for the last month. He and wife of 10-years Lindsey VanDeweghe (together above) lived in a sprawling $3.5 million mansion at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club
Police said the 38-year-old had been staying at the Homewood Suites in the Tampa suburb of Brandon since January 11
Police said there were no apparent signs of trauma and the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office are currently working to determine his cause of death
Jackson was reported missing by his family and subsequently contacted by police in the days before he was discovered dead in a Florida hotel room on Monday.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office officials said his family initially reported Jackson missing on Wednesday. Two days later, deputies tracked him down to his hotel and spoke with him before canceling the missing persons case.
A housekeeper discovered the 38-year-old’s body at around 11:30am on Monday, according to police. There were no signs of trauma and the medical examiner’s office was looking into a cause of death.
Redacted police records obtained by DailyMail.com indicate that the investigation was still active as of Tuesday afternoon in Florida.
‘My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him,’ Chronister said in a statement posted on social media.
WHAT IS CTE?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by repeated hits to the head. Over time, these hits result in the accumulation of tau protein around the brain, which can lead to confusion, depression and eventually dementia.
There have been several retired football players who have come forward with brain diseases, many of whom attribute their condition to the game.
More than 1,800 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE research.
CTE was usually associated with boxing before former NFL players began revealing their conditions.
Several notable players who committed suicide were posthumously diagnosed with the disease, such as Junior Seau and Aaron Hernandez.
While often connected to concussions, many researchers like Lee E. Goldstein, MD, PhD, an associate professor at Boston University, now believe sub-concussive hits also play a major part in CTE.
‘Over the course of an NFL season, the overwhelming majority of hits are sub-concussive,’ Goldstein told DailyMail.com. ‘I’m not saying [the NFL is] wrong for focusing on concussions. But I am saying they’re mis-prioritizing.’
‘Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else,’ the sheriff said, noting that Jackson, a South Tampa resident, was made an honorary deputy.
Jackson played for the San Diego Chargers for seven seasons before becoming a free agent because of a contract dispute. He then went on to play five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making his last appearance in 2016. He recorded 57 receiving touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl three times.
The son of military parents, Jackson founded the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation, a nonprofit to support military families.
‘We are all mourning the loss of our beloved @VincentTJackson. His wife and family ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time,’ the foundation tweeted Monday.
‘I have no words,’ ESPN’s Jenna Laine tweeted. ‘I’m in complete shock. I needed to pull over while driving. This is crushing in every possible way. Vincent Jackson was a cherished member of the Buccaneers and our community.
‘For those who didn’t follow Vincent Jackson’s career in Tampa…he and his life Lindsey put on baby showers for military families. They wrote a series of children’s books to help families cope with deployment. He represented everything that was good about Tampa Bay. We loved him.’
Local sports anchor Chris Fischer tweeted: ‘Terribly sad to hear about Vincent Jackson, one of the sincerest players and people Ive had the chance to know. Did so much charity in Tampa Bay and work with military personnel. My heart goes out to his wife Lindsey, their family and his #Bucs community.’
Mourning his death, Jackson’s former teams highlighted his dedication to community service.
‘During his five seasons with our franchise, Vincent was a consummate professional, who took a great deal of pride in his performance on and off the football field,’ Buccaneers owner and co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a statement, noting Jackson’s work in the community.
‘His greatest achievements as a Buccaneer were the four consecutive nominations he earned as our Walter Payton Man of the Year,’ the team said, referring to the award given to NFL players for their service to the community.
The Chargers, now based in Los Angeles, said Jackson was ‘gone too soon.’
‘We are shocked and deeply saddened by news of Vincent Jackson’s sudden passing. 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 team said on Twitter.
An outpouring of appreciation flowed on social media.
‘I started crying holding his jersey. I grew up a chargers fan,’ said one fan who identified himself as YungEazy on Twitter. ‘Great personality and no hate in the world. This is very sad. Rest In Peace King.’