‘My NFL brothers continue to die’ | Ryan Leaf responds to death of Vincent Jackson

The 38-year-old was known for his support of military families and mentoring NFL players

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

BRANDON, Fla. — Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead Monday at a Florida hotel room, days after authorities spoke with him as part of a welfare check, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

A housekeeper discovered the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player’s body about 11:30 a.m. Monday, officials said. There were no signs of trauma, and the medical examiner’s office was looking into a cause of death for the 38-year-old at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, near Tampa.

His death, still under investigation, has caused many players to speak out about their shock and sadness in regards to Jackson’s tragic death and the sudden deaths of other NFL alum. Ryan Leaf, the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, said he felt “survivor’s remorse” after hearing about Jackson’s mysterious passing.

He said the wave of deaths of players, like the recent one of former Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, who was 28 years old when he died in December, should be a red flag for the league. Leaf, who also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he has visited with former players that are in psych wards.

“My NFL brothers continue to die and nobody is doing a (expletive) thing about it,” Leaf said in a video posted on Twitter Tuesday. I talked to another brother who spent the weekend in a psych ward today. The NFL just doesn’t (expletive) care. They’ll write condolence letters... but if they were actually invested, they’d actually put some money behind the legends community and into the mental health, substance abuse side of it.

“Once you’re bad for the brand, the shield, they don’t give two (expletive).”

Family looked for Vincent Jackson last week

Sheriff’s officials said the husband and father of three was initially reported missing Feb. 10. Deputies tracked him down to the hotel two days later, spoke with him and canceled the missing persons case.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said his department has opened an investigation.

“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.

“Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else."

- Sheriff Chad Chronister

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 before retiring in 2018.

His fans expressed their shock and grief across social media.

“We are all mourning the loss of our beloved @VincentTJackson. His wife and family ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time,” tweeted the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation, a nonprofit that Jackson founded to support military families.