The Chargers drafted Jackson in the second round in 2005, and after an injury-filled rookie year, he quickly became a mainstay of the team’s pass-first offense. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2009, 2011, and again in 2012, his first season with the Buccaneers. He still holds the Buccaneers’ record for most receiving yards in a game, 216.
During his N.F.L. career, he caught 57 touchdowns and had six seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards.
According to NFL.com, Jackson was arrested twice, in 2006 and again in 2009, for driving under the influence. After the second arrest, he was sentenced to four days in jail and five years of probation and was suspended by the league for three games.
James Lofton, the Hall of Fame wide receiver, coached Jackson in San Diego and remembered Jackson as exceptionally bright and motivated. He recalled, too, when Jackson called him at 4:15 a.m. to apologize for his 2006 arrest.
“We are part of society, and the same ills that get people in society get us, too,” Lofton said of N.F.L. players. “He just didn’t seem like the person who would have met a tragic death.”
Greg Camarillo, a former N.F.L. receiver, was roommates with Jackson at the Chargers’ training camp in 2005 and now has a student support role in the University of San Diego athletics department. Camarillo said he was shaken by Jackson’s death and posted to Twitter several messages Monday about professional football players’ struggles in retirement.
Many players, Camarillo said, have difficulty coping after they leave the N.F.L. because lose their identity and find it difficult to forge a new path without it.
“It could happen to me or any former player,” Camarillo said in a phone interview Thursday. “Vince is not drastically different than anyone else, including me.”
Gillian R. Brassil contributed reporting.