Experts have concluded on the tragic death of former NFL wideout Vincent Jackson. Jackson struggled with chronic alcohol abuse and ultimately succumbed to it earlier this year. He was found dead in a hotel suite on February 15th, five days after being reported missing by his family.
This report comes just a few days removed from his diagnosis of Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a progressive brain disease associated with repeated head traumas. This tracks alongside other head/brain-related ailments that have taken other former pro athletes before. The biopsy revealed other medical issues that align with both his alcohol abuse and brain disease.
These revelations come a series of questions posed to the NFL and other pro sports leagues. Given the physically demanding nature of the sports they oversee, some will wonder if they have positioned their athletes to perform in the best possible way. While the NFL has made a concerted effort in creating a safer environment on the field, this latest report signals a potential necessity for greater measures.
Vincent Jackson’s NFL career
Drafted 61st overall in the 2005 NFL draft, Vincent Jackson slowly grew into a premier wide receiver. He tallied 37 touchdowns and three 1’000-yard seasons with the Chargers and aided them through one of their best runs in franchise history from 2005-11. He then made his way to the Sunshine state, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with who he would spend the remainder of his playing career.
Jackson flourished in his first few seasons in Tampa Bay. He garnered a career-high 1’384 receiving yards in 2012 in what became his last pro-bowl selection. Even without recognition in the following years, he put up two more 1’000-yard campaigns in 2013 and ’14.
He left the game as one of the most underrated receivers of his generation. Given his performance, Jackson more than proved his merit on each team he suited up for.