TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson is back on the practice field after missing a big part of last season because of injuries.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection is also excited about the upcoming release of a second children’s book he’s written to support military families.
“Danny Dogtags: Soccer Superhero” will go on sale next month, with proceeds supporting the player’s Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which he launched four years ago to help military moms and dads remain connected with their kids during deployments, as well as heighten awareness of other issues facing service members and their loved ones.
Jackson, the son of parents who were both in the military, and his wife, Lindsey, have also published “Danny Dogtags: Dealing with Deployment.” They plan to write a third book to complete a trilogy.
“Our first book was launched about a year and a half ago. … Basically that book focused on a great family story, a talking piece for parents to sit down with young military kids and discuss the tough terms of what it’s like to transition through maybe one of your parents being deployed for an extended period of time. We try to make that kind of fun, light-hearted, and make it easier for parents to get that across to young kids,” Jackson said.
Jackson, 33, explained the main pillars of Jackson in Action 83 focus on emotional health, physical health and educational development of children. The second installment in the Danny Dogtags series finds the main character struggling as a young soccer player who’s made poor choices regarding his nutrition.
The receiver is a character in the book, too.
“I come and visit the team at practice, kind of give them some basic tips on eating healthy, getting good rest, things like that,” Jackson said. “(Danny) takes that home, takes that to heart, shares it with his family, and he starts excelling with his friends and family.”
Jackson is a six-time 1,000-yard receiver who’s looking to rebound from one of the least productive seasons of his career. The 12th-year pro sat out three games in November, as well as the final three of 2015 because of a knee injury, finishing with 33 receptions for 543 yards and three touchdowns.
The numbers were his worst since 2010, when appeared in just five games because of a contract dispute and had 14 catches for 248 yards and three TDs for the San Diego Chargers.
Tampa Bay got off to a 6-6 start before going 0-4 down the stretch last season. Jackson sat out the last three games and had one catch for 5 yards over the final month.
He reported to training camp last week, feeling good physically and eager to revert to his form of 2012-14, when he had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Bucs.
Jackson also topped 1,000 yards three times in seven seasons with the Chargers from 2005-11.
“I’m feeling really good … but I’ve been good since early in this offseason. I had a great complete offseason with our OTAs and everything like that,” Jackson said. “I’m just excited, ready to get through a great training camp, continue to build on the fundamentals and prepare myself as best I can to perform well throughout the season.”
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