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Sorrow has blanketed the football community as the body of former NFL player Vincent Jackson was on Monday (February 15) in a Florida hotel room, four days after his family had reported him missing. He was 38.
Image Credit: AP
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According to a statement from the the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson had been staying at the hotel since January 11. His family reported him missing on February 11 but police located him alive on February 12 and, after performing a wellness check, cancelled the missing persons case. Police now say there are “no apparent signs of trauma” as the incident “remains an active and open investigation”.
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Jackson was a fan-favourite wide-receiver and three-time Pro Bowl selectee. He played in the NFL for 12 years, splitting his professional years between the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before retiring in 2018. Off the field, he was well known for his support for military families; both his parents served in the US Army. Emotional tributes have poured in from teammates, fans and friends who describe Jackson as kind, devoted and generous.
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Wrestler Pat McAfee wrote: “Vincent Jackson passed away?? He was a damn good football player.. I’m absolutely bummed for everybody involved. Gone way too soon. Rest easy boss man.”
Image Credit: Twitter.com/PatMcAfeeShow
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“You come in as teammates and you leave as brothers, some things are hard to understand and hard to figure out why, but I’m not questioning God’s plans. I’m going to miss those occasional calls to call me soft and me saying come say it to my face sweety pie lol,” shared former linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/ShawneMerriman
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In a statement, the Chargers wrote they “simply cannot believe he’s gone”. “Vincent was a fan favourite not only for his Pro Bowl play on the field but for the impact he made on the community off of it,” wrote the Chargers. The Buccaneers wrote: “Vincent was a dedicated father, husband, businessman and philanthropist… Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Lindsey, and the entire Jackson family.”
Image Credit: Twitter.com/Chargers (Los Angeles Chargers)
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“My heart is crushed today after hearing about the passing of Vincent Jackson. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, children, and family. VJ was an incredible human being and a true servant of the Lord. REST IN PEACE my brother,” wrote BC, the chief of football operations at a Colorado university, on Twitter.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/B_C_1_
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NFL broadcaster Sara Walsh described Jackson’s loss as “incomprehensible”. “Vincent Jackson made an incredible impact in Tampa. He was loved here as much for his foundation and service efforts as he was for his talent on the field. I got to introduce him for one of the many community awards he was honored with back in 2018. Incomprehensible he’s gone,” wrote Walsh, sharing an image on Twitter.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/Sara_Walsh
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Former NFL Live host Trey Wingo also shared an emotional memory of Jackson’s generousity. “Vincent Jackson was a kind and generous soul. This was him at Super Bowl 50 taking the time to have a picture with my son and his friends. RIP,” he wrote.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/Wingoz (Trey Wingo)
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Fans also shared the long-lasting impact Jackson has had on them. “Still have his rookie card in my college apartment. One of my favorite wideouts growing up. Sad to see him go. R.I.P to Vincent Jackson,” wrote one fan, @XTurner_ on Twitter.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/XTurner_
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“Vincent Jackson was the first NFL player I ever looked up to. He’s the reason why I started playing football. Rest In Peace my guy. Thank you for making a massive impact on my life,” said another fan, @KingKryptix.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/KingKryptix
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Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David posted: “Some things you just never wanna hear, especially bad things towards great, genuine people!”
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“V Jax thank you for everything, I love you, big bro. Praying for your family. Rest in Paradise,” wrote Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans.
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Meanwhile, tight end Cameron Brate posted: “RIP to a great teammate, player and an even better person.”
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