Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson struggled with alcoholism and other health issues before he was found dead in a Florida hotel room this week, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Wednesday.
Chronister also said Jackson’s family is concerned he might have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a progressive and fatal disease that has been linked to concussions.
Jackson, 38, was found dead Monday at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, where he had been living since Jan. 11.
Autopsy Reveals ‘Chronic Alcoholism’
“We got the autopsy report back that is going to be released today,” Chronister said during an appearance on the M.J. Morning Show on Q105-FM, per the Tampa Bay Times.
“Unfortunately, he suffered from chronic alcoholism. Again, just tragic. We haven’t gotten the toxicology report back, so can’t say with any certainty that was it. But a lot of longstanding health conditions that contributed to his passing because of some alcohol abuse.”
According to Chronister, Jackson’s family suspects CTE because he sustained multiple concussions during a 12-year NFL career with the San Diego Chargers (2005-11) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-16).
“This is just speculation, but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE,” he said. “They believe he had a lot of concussion problems. When you suffer from that, you’re not yourself, you’re not your normal self. And they believe wholeheartedly all of these actions are a result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.”
Ryan Leaf Blasts NFL
Jackson earned three Pro Bowl selections and posted six 1,000-yard seasons. He caught 540 passes for 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns in 155 games.
Known for his charitable endeavors, Jackson was Tampa Bay’s nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award four times.
Jackson’s death prompted former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf to blast the league for not doing enough to help players in need.
“I don’t know who needs to hear this, or if I just needed to say it, but I will not continue to stand by and watch my brothers disappear because the multi billion $$$ corporation won’t do the right thing,” Leaf posted on Twitter along with an emotional video.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, or if I just needed to say it, but I will not continue to stand by and watch my brothers disappear because the multi billion $$$ corporation won’t do the right thing. @nfl @NFLPA do something!! #igoturback #nflbrotherhood pic.twitter.com/rQciHiPSgZ
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) February 16, 2021
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)