INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana –
Reading between the lines of what Bucs coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht had to say about wide receiver Vincent Jackson here in Indianapolis on Wednesday, it’s hard not to get the idea that Jackson’s playing days as a Buccaneer are over.
Koetter and Licht both spoke as if they were reading off the same script when they said “Jackson will always be a Buccaneer,’’ which sounds like code for “we love this guy and he did great things for us but the time has come to part ways.’’
All that’s left it seems is for Jackson to announce his next move, which may be a desire to catch on with another team and keep trying but at 33 and coming off two knee injuries will more than likely include moving on to the next phase of his life.
No one should be surprised then if in the next week or so, if Jackson comes out and after 12 years, three Pro Bowls and more than 540 catches for nearly 10,000 yards officially announces his retirement, which is something the Bucs have been preparing for.
The hope inside the organization at this time last year was that the Bucs could get one more good year out of Jackson, who proved to be one of the few free agents signed by the Bucs who actually played up to the terms of the contract he signed with them.
And that was a mega-deal, then general manager Mark Dominik signing Jackson in 2012 to a five-year, $55.5 million contract to be the go-to guy for then quarterback Josh Freeman.
Jackson has great affection for the Military, and he and his foundation have done numerous events for active and retired military families with MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa over the past five years. He has also has young children and business interests in Tampa Bay, and has talked openly to the media and on his Buccaneers radio shows about wanting to remain in Tampa after his career.
Yes, Jackson has caught a lot of passes from a lot of different quarterbacks in his time in Tampa Bay and he’s always been one of the professional players in the Bucs locker room. And, if he’s done, he’ll be missed there, as well as on the field.