Members of Vincent Jackson’s family have told authorities that they believe chronic alcoholism and the lingering effects of concussions might have contributed to the former NFL wide receiver’s death.
In a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that the investigation into Jackson’s death is ongoing, but relatives have told detectives that they “had reason to believe he may have suffered from chronic alcoholism and concussions.”
“However, the exact cause and manner of Mr. Jackson’s death will not be certain until his autopsy, among other reports, is complete,” the sheriff’s office said.
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office spokesperson Michelle VanDyke said the manner and cause of death had yet to be determined. The process will likely take several weeks, if not months.
The statement from the sheriff’s office came hours after its leader, Chad Chronister, mentioned alcoholism and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as suspected contributing factors in an interview with WRBQ-FM, a radio station in Tampa.
“(Jackson’s family members) believe he had a lot of concussion problems,” Chronister told the station. “And when you suffer from that, you’re not yourself. You’re not your normal self. They believe wholeheartedly that all of these actions are a result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.”
Jackson, 38, was reported as missing by his family last week but then located by law enforcement at a Homewood Suites on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida. Authorities said he had been staying at the hotel for more than a month.
The sheriff’s office said in a news release that officers spoke with Jackson on Friday, assessed his well-being and canceled the missing persons report. His body was found by a housekeeper at approximately 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday.
A three-time Pro Bowler with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jackson took his last NFL snap in 2016 and had since shifted his focus to business. He co-owned several restaurants, including Cask Social Kitchen in Tampa, as well as a real estate and development company, CTV Capital.
Jackson twice faced DUI charges during his career, stemming from one incident in 2006 and another in 2009. He was also cited for driving with a suspended license in 2010. The NFL later suspended Jackson for three games for violating its personal conduct policy.
Contributing: Brent Schrotenboer