Ex-NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson, diagnosed with Stage 2 CTE, died of 'chronic alcohol use'

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson died earlier this year of “chronic alcohol use,” the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office said in an autopsy report on Wednesday.

Jackson was found dead in a hotel room outside of Tampa, Florida, in February. He was 38.

According to the report, Jackson had a blood-alcohol content of 0.028% when he died. The death was considered “natural.”

Jackson’s widow, Lindsey, said last week that he had Stage 2 CTE at the time of his death. His family had donated his brain to the CTE Center at Boston University so it could be studied. Doctors found “mild frontal lobe atrophy,” multiple lesions and a “split in the internal membrane.” These would have led to symptoms like memory loss, mood swings and more. Throughout his career, though, Jackson was never diagnosed with a concussion.

Lindsey told The New York Times that Jackson had been suffering these symptoms since his final season in the NFL. She said he started to forget conversations, battled depression shortly after leaving the league, and he had difficulty solving problems and became paranoid by 2018.

Jackson’s drinking apparently became a bigger issue in January, and he moved to a hotel after his children started to notice. He was found dead by housekeepers about a month later.

Jackson played 12 seasons in the NFL from 2005-16, first for the San Diego Chargers and then the Buccaneers. He finished his career with 9,080 receiving yards and 57 touchdowns, and tallied six 1,000-yard receiving campaigns while earning three Pro-Bowl nods. Jackson was named the Bucs Man of the Year four straight times to close out his career, and founded the Jackson in Action 83 foundation — which helped support military members and their families.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson
Former Chargers and Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, seen here in 2016, died in February. He was 38. (Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)