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Vincent Jackson's Family Makes A Decision On CTE Research

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wode receiver Vincent Jackson is tackled during a game.

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes a reception against defensive back Tyvon Branch #27 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers 40-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler for the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was found dead this week. He was just 38 year old.

Jackson had been staying at a hotel in Brandon, Fla. from mid-January until he was found on Feb. 15, after his family reported him as missing to authorities. So far, no cause of death has been released, and we may not have an autopsy report for some time.

Given his age and the manner in which he spent his last month, some have suspected that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disorder associated with repeated head trauma, often linked with football. A number of former NFL players who have died prematurely have had their brains tested by the CTE Center at Boston University. Vincent Jackson's family has made the same decision.

“Vincent being who he was would have wanted to help as many people as possible,” Jackson family spokesperson Allison Gorrell told The New York Times. “It’s something his family wanted to do to get answers to some of their questions.”

His family told local authorities that they believed his history of concussions may have played a role in his behavior. Jackson was also dealing with "health problems associated with alcoholism," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister noted in a recent interview.

Vincent Jackson was among the NFL's most popular players, serving as a union representative during the 2011 league lockout, and being among the most active philanthropists in the league, and after his retirement. He was a four-time nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award by the Buccaneers.

Whether CTE played a role or not, hopefully Jackson's family can receive some answers as to what happened, and get closure on this extremely tragic chapter.

[The New York Times]