DENVER – Former University of Northern Colorado and Widefield High School standout wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead at a hotel in Brandon, Florida, on Monday, according to authorities there.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Jackson, 38, who had been living in South Tampa, had checked into the Homewood Suites in Brandon on Jan. 11. Jackson’s family members reported him missing on Feb. 10 to the sheriff’s office, then filed a formal report the next day, the sheriff’s office said.
On Feb. 12, deputies found him at the Homewood Suites, assessed his well-being and canceled the missing person’s case, the officials said.
HAPPENING NOW: #teamHCSO is investigating the death of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Vincent Jackson. Jackson, 38, was found deceased on Monday, February 15, 2021, at the Homewood Suites in Brandon. pic.twitter.com/OZ8QwKakLw— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) February 15, 2021
But the former Pro Bowl receiver was found dead by a housekeeper around 11:30 a.m. Monday inside his hotel room, the sheriff’s office said.
There were no apparent signs of trauma on Jackson’s body, the sheriff’s office said, and the county medical examiner’s office will determine his cause of death.
Jackson was an all-conference football player at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs and also played basketball. He attended the University of Northern Colorado on a partial scholarship and was an All-America as a freshman punt returner. He also played basketball for the Bears.
Jackson then went on to become the university’s record holder in receptions and receiving yards for both a game and season, receiving touchdowns, and kick and punt return yards.
Reed Doughty, a former UNC teammate and roommate of Jackson's, told Denver7’s Troy Renck "he is deeply saddened" by his friend's passing.
They were inducted into the NoCo Hall of Fame in 2011. Jackson waited a year go into the Hall so he could enter with Doughty. "It was a special evening," Doughty said. They decided to go to UNC together after meeting on a recruiting trip at Colorado School of Mines.
Jackson was picked in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, where he went on to have two Pro Bowl seasons and three seasons in which he topped 1,000 yards receiving. He was the highest ever draft pick for a UNC football player.
Jackson signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, and went on to finish that year with career highs in receptions and receiving yards and earned another Pro Bowl selection. He would play four more years with the Bucs before injuring his knee in 2016 and retiring in 2018.
Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer said the team was saddened to learn of the news and praised his off-the-field work, which earned him several nods as the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear the terrible news regarding the loss of Vincent Jackson. 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. 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. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection for his accomplishments on the field, but his greatest achievement as a Buccaneer were the four consecutive nominations he earned as our Walter Payton Man of the Year. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Lindsey, and the entire Jackson family.”
"My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement.
"Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else. Football aside, he touched countless lives through his Jackson In Action 83 Foundation. We shared a passion for supporting military families, and three years ago, Jackson was even made an honorary deputy by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to recognize his dedication to the community,” Chronister added. “He will be sorely missed by not only football fans across the country, but also the people here in Hillsborough County who reaped the benefits of his generous contributions.”
“Rest in Peace to one of the greatest Bears of all time,” the University of Northern Colorado football team tweeted.
Rest in Peace to one of the greatest Bears of all time 🙏 🐻🏈 pic.twitter.com/yRsONSsbPB— Northern Colorado FB (@UNC_BearsFB) February 15, 2021
This is a developing news story and will be updated.