TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson was a proud recipient of a meaningful individual honor heading into the 2013 season finale at New Orleans.
Tampa Bay’s leading receiver was named the 2013 Buccaneers Man of the Year on Friday for his leadership, on and off the field, and Jackson will now compete against other team representatives for the NFL’s annual Walter Payton Award.
“It’s a lot of work, looking back at it, but it’s all worth it,” said the nine-year veteran. “We have such a platform to influence a lot of people’s lives in this community, and they give so much to us. I’m happy to do it. It’s an honor I share with my teammates and a lot of people in this community who have helped me.”
A self-proclaimed “military brat,” Jackson launched the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation to support military families, focusing on the educational, emotional and physical health of the families’ children.
Jackson’s parents have a combined 25 years of active-duty service in the Army. In March, Jackson participated in a USO Tour to the Middle East to greet military stationed overseas.
“It’s just the way I was raised,” Jackson said. “I’ve always been a guy who was giving back to the community. When you do it ... you usually walk away feeling so much better about yourself.”
The NFL confirmed Friday that Bucs S Dashon Goldson has been fined $60,000 for a personal-foul penalty he drew early in the fourth quarter of last week’s 23-13 loss at St. Louis.
Goldson was flagged for unnecessary roughness after a helmet-to-helmet hit against Rams rookie WR Steadman Bailey on a 12-yard completion.
Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowl pick with San Francisco, signed in March as a free agent. He arrived with a reputation as one of the league’s hardest-hitting safeties, but he is admittedly struggling with the NFL’s new protection rules regarding defenseless receivers.
He was suspended one game by the league for an illegal hit against Atlanta’s Roddy White on Nov. 17 and in September, another potential one-game suspension was overturned as Goldson settled on a $100,000 fine for an illegal hit against Saints RB Darren Sproles.
On Monday, Bucs coach Greg Schiano talked about Goldson’s determination to adjust his playing style.
“It’s clear to me that he’s really worked to change his aiming point on his contact,” Schiano said. “Even in practice, he works on it as he approaches guys.”
Back at the chalkboard
With Sean Payton returning to his accustomed spot on the New Orleans sideline, the Saints boast the NFL’s No. 2 passing attack under the direction of Drew Brees.
The Saints can earn an NFC playoff berth by beating the Bucs, a season after they went 7-9 with Payton serving out a one-year suspension for his role in the club’s bounty program.
“The first thing you miss is the relationships, the daily interaction with people you work with,” Payton said. “To go, really, a period of a year without any type of conversation is obviously difficult. That early portion of the suspension, I know how I felt — very angry, very bitter.
“It gave me an opportunity to do some other things. I got involved in coaching my son’s football team and kind of maybe doing a little bit of a bucket list that you normally couldn’t do as a head coach. But it’s great to be back.”