“He Always Went Above And Beyond”

February 16th, 2021

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The grim news about Vincent Jackson hit Dirk Koetter hard. Very hard.

“I couldn’t really sleep last night,” Koetter told me on Tuesday.

“Thirty-eight is way, way too young.”

News of Vincent Jackson’s passing hit former Bucs skipper Dirk Koetter hard, writes Ira Kaufman.

Koetter worked with Jackson in Tampa for two seasons — first as an offensive coordinator under Lovie Smith in 2015 and then as Buccaneer head coach in 2016. Although their time together was relatively short, Jackson and Koetter formed a bond that was shattered with the news that Jackson’s lifeless body had been found in a Brandon hotel room.

“Vincent was a pro in every way, both on the field and off,” Koetter said. “He was a leader by example, by the way he did things. Whatever you asked of him, he always went above and beyond.”

The Bucs boasted the NFL’s No. 5 offense in 2015 with Koetter calling the plays. While Jameis Winston turned in a solid rookie season and Doug Martin ran for 1,402 yards, Jackson caught 33 passes for 543 yards and three TDs.

“Vincent had been a No. 1 receiver and going through that transition behind Mike Evans could have been difficult, but he handled it so well … that’s what being a leader is all about,” said Koetter. “Vincent had a lot of things going for him. He had athleticism and he had toughness. He also had exceptional range as a receiver. He was definitely a big-play guy.”

The end of Jackson’s professional career came five games into the 2016 season when he suffered a torn ACL at Carolina on Monday Night Football. Despite the injury, Jackson finished the game and contributed to a 17-14 victory.

The raw athleticism of Vincent Jackson was often on display.

He sat out the following year before announcing his retirement in May, 2018. In retrospect, Jackson remains one of the best free-agent signings in franchise history.

Once he left the Chargers and agreed to a 5-year deal with the Bucs in 2012, he was immediately named a team captain.

Greg Schiano had just replaced Raheem Morris and Jackson opened his Buc career by catching 72 passes for 1,384 yards and eight TDs. His average of 19.2 yards per catch ranked first in the league.

Jackson was almost as productive in Schiano’s final year on the sidelines, grabbing 78 receptions for 1,224 yards and seven scores. The following year, Jackson provided one of the few highlights of a 2-14 season with a game-winning 5-yard catch at Pittsburgh with only seven seconds remaining.

The week before, Tampa Bay had been humiliated 56-14 on national television by the Falcons. Guess who called the plays for Atlanta that evening?

“You try to think back and remember certain things about Vincent, but it’s hard to do that right now,” Koetter said. “I’m still trying to get my mind around what happened.”

Besides his outstanding production on the field, Jackson is also remembered by Buc fans for his exemplary work in the community. His projects were designed to bring people together and honor the armed forces.

He was a frequent visitor to MacDill and both of his parents served in the U.S. Army. A self-described “military brat,” Jackson lived in Germany and attended school in several states before going to Northern Colorado.

“I can’t think of anybody who did more in the Tampa Bay community than Vincent Jackson,” Koetter said. “He had a military background and was living in a military town. What he did in Tampa and for Tampa was so, so impressive.”

Jackson won’t have a bust in Canton, but he deserves a place in the Buccaneer Ring of Honor. His spirit will live on as a consummate pro and an ideal off-field representative for the franchise.

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15 Responses to ““He Always Went Above And Beyond””

  1. Buc You Says:

    I don’t think he should be in the ROH, but it would be an on going tribute for the Bucs to partner with his charity and carry on the work it does in his name.

    RIP Vince

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree 100% about the Ring of Honor Ira. Vincent was a Pro’s Pro.

  3. SCBucsFan Says:

    Jackson did more for Tampa off the field then on it and I say that knowing what a great receiver he was on bad teams.

  4. August 1976 Buc Says:

    A lot of players for the Bucs over the years have been good citizens and players. The ROH has players on there for the accomplishments on the field or HC on the sideline. For me, there must be a way to do something different to honor VJAX. Create something else, for THIS kind of situation. VJAX was an excellent player, but in comparison to the people on the ROH, just not the same. But again it would be good to create something to honor former Buc players like VJAX, in a situation like this, person that affected a lot of people’s lives on and off the field with his play and his character. RIP VJAX

  5. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    So sad that addiction can change a person so Easily.
    RIP VJ! Many prayers coming from this house.

  6. Jorge Villanueva Says:

    Great ball player and better man!! You are missed VJ!!

  7. Buc From Palm Bay Says:

    R.I.P Mr. One yard line.

  8. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    What’s wrong with him being in the ring??? The Bucs are about more than just football just like the NFL is. The ring of “Honor” has someone in it who isn’t very honorable so why can’t VJax who was honorable on and off the field be a part of it??? I’m sure He did and gave more to a community that he didn’t come from than all those who lived in it all their lives!

  9. gofortheface30 Says:

    Some of these Twahhts on here saying he shouldn’t be in ring of honor as if the Bucs have a backlog of great players that should be in before him. Like seriously who TF are you to be saying he shouldn’t be in? I didn’t realize we were the Pittsburgh Steelers with all these historical figures to choose from. Up until Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson is the most productive receiver in Bucs history, he is arguably the most beloved OFF the field and has arguably done the most for the community and chose Tampa as his home. If that doesn’t deserve his name up on the stadium then I don’t know what does.

  10. HeyItsAdam Says:

    I don’t think he was here long enough to merit ROH.

    However, Ira has inspired an idea…. the Bucs should have a “In Memoriam” section on the concourse of the stadium where players like Vincent Jackson can be memorialized. I also think Ricky Bell should be in there.

  11. danr Says:

    i think there is this idea, that the chargers might have ‘dibs’ on him as far as claiming him as one of their greats.

    but if they are not interested, we should definitely boost him up.

    It would feel weird to me to have different teams claim him.

    Like… how many rings of honor would Deon Sanders be in? idk. just spitballing. not against it.

  12. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    OK, I would agree to put a “good” receiver in the ROH as long as they push out Kwitter Kiffin. Besides, Tennessee has dibs on Kiffin or USC, for their Hall of Shame.

  13. Guinness8 Says:

    Maybe they could give our team nominee for the Walter Payton MOY an award named after VJax.

  14. #1bucsfan Says:

    Great receiver even greater of person. Rip VJ.

  15. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    Yeah that sucks!! Jackson was a good dude that I seriously doubt would have participated in this kneeling crap and probably would have had a more unifying message…. I think the football world lost a good guy… And the world in general lost one of the last truth tellers in this country in Rush Limbaugh!! … So so sooooo sad to hear of his passing!! Two really good men! One played football and told the truth like it or not… And the other made a living off telling the truth like it or not… Those are 2 irreplaceable people