Former NFL player Vincent Jackson suffered from 'chronic alcoholism,' possibly CTE, sheriff says

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Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered from “chronic alcoholism” and possibly CTE before his death, police said Wednesday, citing an autopsy report and Jackson’s family. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told WRBQ radio that Jackson’s autopsy report, which is set to be released sometime on Wednesday, showed signs of “chronic alcoholism” but a cause of death has yet to be confirmed, pending the results of the toxicology report. 

FORMER CHARGERS’ QB RYAN LEAF SLAMS LEAGUE AFTER DEATH OF VINCENT JACKSON: ‘THE NFL JUST DOESN’T F—ING CARE’

“Unfortunately, he suffered from chronic alcoholism,” Chronister said. “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.”

Jackson, 38, was found dead in a hotel room in Brandon, Fla., on Monday. Police said he was reported missing last week but was tracked down to the hotel where he had been staying since he first checked in on Jan. 11. 

Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 and wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers celebrate after they hook up on a 55 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Chronister also noted that Jackson’s family believes he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a direct result of his 12 seasons in the NFL. 

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“This is just speculation, but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE,” he explained. “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.”

The three-time Pro Bowler was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in 2005 where he played for seven years. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 where he dealt with a number of injuries. He last played for the team in 2016 but announced his retirement just two years later.

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) celebrate Jackson’s first-quarter touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, October 25, 2009. (Photo by John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The information surrounding the circumstances of Jackson’s death comes just days after former Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf slammed the NFL in an emotional video posted to social media on Monday, accusing the league of not caring about the mental health of players after they retire. 

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“The NFL just doesn’t f—ing care. They don’t care,” the 1997 Heisman Trophy finalist said. “They’ll write condolence letters and sh– like that but if they were invested they’d actually put some money behind the Legends Community and into the mental health, substance abuse side of it.”

Leaf had his own struggles after a short career, including several run-ins with the law related to substance abuse, burglary and domestic violence.

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