TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay community is still in mourning over the sudden passing of former Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
“It’s hard to explain,” former Bucs’ kicker Martin Gramatica said. “Yesterday, when I heard the news my stomach just dropped.“
Jackson was found dead in a Brandon hotel room Monday morning.
He last played for the team in 2016, but his legacy will be remembered on and off the field.
“My autograph football collection are always special guys,” Bucs superfan Larry Gasparino said. “He was one. We’ll miss him. He was such a great player, too."
Jackson played 12 seasons in the NFL. He signed with the Bucs as a free agent in 2012. Gasparino would always notice how much time Jackson devoted to fans even at practice.
“It really stuck with me how great of a guy he was, signing autographs for every little kid at training camp and practice,” Gasparino said. “He was taking care of everybody. Just a nice cordial guy, practiced hard.”
Gramatica remembers Jackson as a larger-than-life personality.
“He would brighten the room up,” Gramatica said. “When Vincent showed up, hey he’s here. Big, tall guy."
A pillar in the community known for his charity work, Jackson was a big supporter of the military with his “Jackson in Action 83 Foundation.”
“He was an amazing person off the field,” Gramatica said. “We saw the talent on the field, three-time Pro Bowler, we saw his amazing talent on the field. He impacted so many people off the field. He did so much charity work and a lot of it was with the military. He called himself a military brat.”
The sadness of this sudden loss comes right after the Bucs biggest win in 18 years. Jackson was a former teammate with a handful of those players that played in Super Bowl LV.
“I remember when we drafted Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, you could tell, took Mike Evans under his wing right way, teaching him how to be a professional,” Gasparino said.
The “Jackson in Action 83 Foundation” is asking in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the foundation.
Jackson was 38-years-old.