It hasn’t been an easy year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only do they sit at the bottom of the NFC South at an unimpressive 4-11, but starting quarterback Jameis Winston has struggled to live up to expectations, and has recently stated that he regrets his outlandish behavior following the team’s 22-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers in late October. Though mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Tampa Bay needs to maintain and continue to build a coalition of competent players. Yet, a recent investigation involving DeSean Jackson and an damaged vehicle registered in his name could potentially impact the team’s roster during the off-season.
While most were enjoying the company of family and friends during Christmas Eve, many are now questioning what exactly Jackson was doing at that time. According to reporting done by Mike Garafolo on NFL.com, Tampa Bay authorities responded to an incident on December 24 involving a Chevy Silverado which had been registered under Jackson’s name. Police arrived to discover the vehicle damaged and abandoned, and, upon further inspection, uncovered 6.3 grams of marijuana and two hollow-point bullets in Jackson’s car. In Florida, possession of under 20 grams of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, while the ammunition is legal.
The driver having apparently fled the scene, responding officers managed to bring Jackson to the scene of the incident. Though he initially declined to involve himself in the investigation, he later provided the name of the vehicle’s alleged driver. However, Jackson refused to help contact the individual or return him to the scene. Although he wasn’t in the vehicle at the time of the incident, Jackson has been adamant about distancing himself from both the crash, as well as the contents of the truck.
A representative of DeSean Jackson later announced that a friend borrowed his vehicle, and that none of the items found in the wreck belonged to Jackson. Additionally, Denise White, Jackson’s representative, disclosed that the wide receiver will be dealing with the matter privately.
Of course, the principal issue now facing Jackson is the National Football League’s policies surrounding marijuana. Though he attributed the ownership of the substance to his unnamed friend, the NFL star may yet have to contend with the league’s famously stringent drug policy. If the marijuana is later linked to him, he’ll likely face some sort of suspension. While Jackson doesn’t have any notable policy transgressions under his belt over his ten-year tenure in the league, his arrest in Los Angeles in 2009 and apparent gang connections may cause some to speculate on Jackson’s innocence in this situation.
Jackson’s first year in Tampa Bay doesn’t appear to have positively impacted him. His number of receiving yards has plummeted since his final season with the Washington Redskins, and he barely managed to outperform his abysmal 2015 stats. As of December 28 nothing has been said about his future with Tampa Bay’s football squad, and next year the receiver will be entering his second year of a three-year, $33.5 million contract.