Missing Person Alert: Vincent Jackson

Aug 26, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) works out prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) works out prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the past four seasons, Vincent Jackson has been one of the constants on this Buccaneers team. A team captain, a reliable leader, a difference maker. Now, it seems VJax has disappeared.

I will preface this by telling you all that Vincent Jackson is one of my favorite Buccaneers players. Not just on this team, but all time. The excitement he created when he signed his five year, $55.55 million dollar deal was palpable. The production he’s had in Tampa, aside from an injury plagued season in 2015, has been constant. Over 1,000 yards receiving in his first three years and a pro bowl appearance.

Where did that guy go?

It’s been disappointing to say the least to see Jackson be a shell of himself in these opening two games and it almost appears as if he doesn’t want to be there. Let me give you an example;

In a beat down of the Falcons in week one, we saw running back Charles Sims make a spectacular play by breaking tackles and scampering into the end zone for a touchdown. That’s the kind of play that gets the team excited, the fans excited, and deflates the opponents. Yet, while the Bucs were celebrating with Sims, here’s what VJax was doing;


Just walks away. That’s not the Vincent Jackson we all know. That’s not the Vincent Jackson we all expect. This is a different guy. This is an impostor who – in two games – has been so disinterested that he ran the wrong route leading to an interception then couldn’t even be bothered enough to turn his head around and look for a very catchable ball, leading to another interception. So VJax, with the utmost respect I ask you, what the hell is your deal?!

If this guy is just worried about collecting the paychecks for the final year of his contract, fine. It’s disappointing and upsetting, but fine. Collect away. But stay off the field while you do it. You aren’t helping anyone with this half-hearted play of yours. All you’re doing is causing problems for the offense and opportunities for the other team. To a certain degree, it’s sickening.

You talk about how much you and your wife love Tampa. You want to finish your career here. You opened a restaurant here. This is your forever home. Then why are you acting like it’s the last place you want to be and the last team you want to be on? The Buccaneers need you to be the VJax we know, love, and embraced. That’s why they brought you back and paid you far more money than you actually deserve at this point in your career.

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You’re the one that provides the intangibles that justify the $9.77 million dollar salary with a $2.432 million dollar bonus. You’re the guy who was grooming Mike Evans to be our next big thing. The guy that provides the veteran leadership in the locker room. The guy Jameis Winston is supposed to trust in clutch situations because you’ve been there, you’ve seen it, and you’re not scared by the big moments.

Now? Now you look like a guy who just doesn’t give a crap and that, at 33 years old, is ready to collect his check and go home. We don’t need that! We can’t have that! This is a new team under a new regime and that attitude that players just want their checks and want to go home needs to be gone. That attitude that losing is just what the Bucs do so who cares needs to be gone. There are 52 other players in that locker room that look up to you and this is the kind of leadership you’re bringing? No, sir. Unacceptable.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that two, three, four weeks from now someone throws this back in my face and tells me what a massive overreaction this is. I welcome it. Maybe it really does take a few weeks for these older players to get their legs under them and it’s causing VJax to get off to a slow start. Maybe there really are simply some miscommunication issues causing broken plays between Jackson and Winston. Maybe this is the mother of all “hot take overreactions” right now.

Maybe not.

Next: Martin To Miss 3 Games, Return After Bye Week

I was a guest on this week’s episode of The PewterCast with Brent Allen. To hear us discuss Vincent Jackson as well as the Martin injury, the loss to the Cardinals, preview the Rams, and much more, click the link below