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Former NFL player Vincent Jackson suffered from ‘chronic alcoholism,’ possibly CTE, sheriff says

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Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered from “chronic alcoholism” and possibly CTE before his death, police said Wednesday, citing an autopsy report and Jackson’s family. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told WRBQ radio that Jackson’s autopsy report, which is set to be released sometime on Wednesday, showed signs of “chronic alcoholism” but a cause of death has yet to be confirmed, pending the results of the toxicology report. 

“Unfortunately, he suffered from chronic alcoholism,” Chronister said. “Again, just tragic. We haven’t gotten the toxicology report back, so can’t say with any certainty that was it. But a lot of longstanding health conditions that contributed to his passing because of some alcohol abuse.”

Jackson, 38, was found dead in a hotel room in Brandon, Fla., on Monday. Police said he was reported missing last week but was tracked down to the hotel where he had been staying since he first checked in on Jan. 11. 

Chronister also noted that Jackson’s family believes he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a direct result of his 12 seasons in the NFL. 

“This is just speculation, but what the family is telling me is that he suffered from CTE,” he explained. “They believe he had a lot of concussion problems. When you suffer from that, you’re not yourself, you’re not your normal self. And they believe wholeheartedly all of these actions are a result of what he suffered while he was playing in the NFL.”

The three-time Pro Bowler was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in 2005 where he played for seven years. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 where he dealt with a number of injuries. He last played for the team in 2016 but announced his retirement just two years later.

The information surrounding the circumstances of Jackson’s death comes just days after former Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf slammed the NFL in an emotional video posted to social media on Monday, accusing the league of not caring about the mental health of players after they retire. 

“The NFL just doesn’t f—ing care. They don’t care,” the 1997 Heisman Trophy finalist said. “They’ll write condolence letters and sh– like that but if they were invested they’d actually put some money behind the Legends Community and into the mental health, substance abuse side of it.”

Leaf had his own struggles after a short career, including several run-ins with the law related to substance abuse, burglary and domestic violence.

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UFC’s Dana White offers glimpse into stars’ hazy future

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UFC president Dana White provided a glimpse into the future for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor after a big UFC 257 event that saw Dustin Poirier and newcomer Michael Chandler pick up wins.

White first revealed what Nurmagomedov told him about his future in the lightweight division and if UFC fans were hoping that the lightweight champion would return to defend his title one more time they might have been sorely mistaken.

“I did talk to Khabib. And he said to me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys,” White said. “I don’t know. But it doesn’t sound very positive. We’ll see.”

Nurmagomedov reportedly told White that he would watch to see the lightweight fights at UFC 257 and then determine whether he would go for his 30th consecutive MMA victory. He told UFC fans he would retire after beating Justin Gaethje.

McGregor lost via technical knockout to Poirier at the event. White tried to provide some clarity on what’s next for the Irishman, according to MMA Fighting.

“I think it will make him hungrier,” White said of McGregor’s stunning loss. There’s two ways this goes — hungrier or I’m done. He’s got the money. I mean when you think about it, I’m a huge ‘Rocky’ fan. This is like ‘Rocky 3.’ When you get off of a 310-foot yacht, you know what I mean? You’re living that good of a life. It’s tough to be a savage when you’re living like he lives and has the money that he has.

“On his way up, he was a young hungry kid. He didn’t have any money and he wanted nice things. He wanted nice suits, nice cars, nice houses. He’s got everything he ever wanted. So I don’t know. It goes this way or that way.”

White didn’t rule out a potential trilogy fight with Poirier. The “Diamond” himself even pointed to a possible trilogy after the fight.

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Ben Roethlisberger’s future with Steelers is up in the air, GM says

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Ben Roethlisberger’s future in Pittsburgh is still up in the air.

General manager Kevin Colbert said on Wednesday that the long-time Steelers quarterback wants to continue his career with the team, but he said that the organization needs to re-evaluate the quarterback situation heading into the 2021 NFL season.

“As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Colbert said via ESPN. “He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation.”

Roethlisberger will have a $41.25 million cap hit if he doesn’t restructure his contract. If the Steelers decide to part ways with him, he will still count for $22.25 million against the cap.

Roethlisberger, who led the Steelers to a 12-4 record, finished the 2020 season with 3,803 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Pittsburgh led the entire NFL with 39 dropped passes this season, and the team would need to improve offensively in order for Roethlisberger to remain on top of his game.

With that said, center Maurkice Pouncey announced his retirement, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva is going to hit free agency, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner will also become free agents as well. It will be interesting to see what the Steelers do to remain competitive next season. Colbert will have a lot of tough decisions to make.

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Joe Buck says he and Troy Aikman used to drink tequila in broadcast booth: ‘It’s a good mental trigger’

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FOX Sports game analyst Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are one of the most iconic duos in the broadcasting community and according to Buck, the secret to their dynamic partnership is sharing in the occasional cocktail inside the booth. 

Buck told fellow FOX Sports host Colin Cowherd on his podcast this week that he used to enjoy the occasional drink while calling MLB games as a way to remind himself to “relax and have fun.”

“I went through a couple years where in the first inning of every postseason baseball game, I had the runner go get the biggest beer that the stadium sold. And I had it sitting there, and I would sip it from time to time to remind myself to relax and have fun. I’m just doing a game.”

“I brought that over to football but because Troy is a man of finer tastes, beer somehow became tequila, Grand Marnier and grapefruit juice,” Buck joked. 

“We haven’t done it in a long time now, but it was good for a stretch, and I feel like it’s a good mental trigger to just chill and remind yourself that you’re not refueling a F-16 in mid-flight. You’re doing a sporting event, and if you treat it like anything other than that you’re doing yourself a disservice.”

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