We’re all familiar with the term, “when they made him they broke the mold”. It might refer to a persons unique abilities, a specific skill set, or selfless charitable endeavors. When using this term to describe Vincent Jackson, this phrase would include all of the above and so much more.
It is way too early to understand all the circumstances that brought us to this past Monday. What Buccaneers fans and the rest of the NFL does understand is we lost a great one. Vincent Jackson was as known for his service off the field as much for his dazzling play on it. He didn’t just make a football team better. He made an entire community greater.
Born to parents who both served in the Armed Forces, Jackson knew the sacrifices military families make. His Jackson in Action 83 foundation provided support to children of military families. Focusing on the educational, emotional, and physical health for these young people.
Always Wore a Smile
There were so many smiles on the faces of all the children sitting in the Action Jackson 83 section at Buccaneers home games. Smiles on Buccaneers fans’ faces in having a player of Vincent Jackson’s character on the squad. But the best smile of all belonged to Jackson himself. A huge, bright, melt your heart smile that could infect anybody. Couple that smile with a devotion to service and you get an idea of how special Vincent Jackson was.
A Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist for four consecutive years (2013-16), Tampa Bay being a huge military hub with MacDill Air Force Base, becoming a Buccaneer was kismet for the Colorado native. The three time Pro Bowler (2x with San Diego, and with the Buccaneers in 2012) was an inspiration to the lives of so many people.
Salute to Service
Many words could, and should be devoted to the fantastic things Jackson did on the field. Today, we mourn the passing of the person he was off the field. Buccaneers fans will remember that smile, warmth, and personable being that V-Jax was. Which is how it feels Vincent would have wanted it.
In passing way too soon, #83 will be sorely missed. Not just because of that selfless service he was so eager to provide. Not for the many great things he did on the football field as well. Vincent Jackson will be remembered as a man who with a smile, determination, and kind heart, could make a difference in this sometimes crazy world.
Vincent Terrell Jackson “WAS THAT GUY”.