Reche Caldwell, former NFL wide receiver, shot and killed in Tampa: report

Former NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell was ambushed and killed in front of his house on Saturday, according to a TMZ Sports report. He was 41.
Caldwell’s mother confirmed his death to the gossip website. She said that Caldwell — who was shot in the leg and chest in an apparent robbery attempt — died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
“He was a good person who smiled all of the time,” Deborah Caldwell told TMZ.
The former University of Florida star who played six seasons in the NFL with the Chargers, Patriots and Washington, was “ambushed” as he was heading out on a date with his girlfriend, according to the report. He was returning to grab a jacked from inside the house when “a couple of people” jumped from the bushes and attempted to rob the former NFL player, his girlfriend told TMZ.
Reche Caldwell, reportedly shot and killed in Tampa, was a second-round pick of the Chargers in the 2002 NFL draft.
Reche Caldwell, reportedly shot and killed in Tampa, was a second-round pick of the Chargers in the 2002 NFL draft. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Caldwell, a Tampa native, was selected by the Chargers in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent four season in San Diego before joining up with Tom Brady and the Patriots during the 2006 season. He started 14 games for the Patriots and had career highs in receptions (61), yards (760) and touchdowns (4) for a New England team that lost to the Colts in the AFC title game.
Two key drops in the Patriots’ 38-34 loss to Indianapolis signaled the end of his time with the Patriots. He spent one season with Washington in 2007 and his career ended in training camp with the Rams the following season.
He finished his career with 152 catches for 1,851 yards and 11 touchdowns. He started 29 of the 71 games he played in.
Reche Caldwell
Reche Caldwell (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Caldwell, ended up in a federal prison in 2015 on a 27-month sentence after being arrested in 2014 for possession of a controlled substance (nearly five pounds of MDMA, a pure form of ecstasy with the street name ‘Molly’) with intent to distribute. At the time of his drug arrest, he was awaiting trial on charges of running an illegal gambling ring.
“Reche was ill-equipped to handle life outside the NFL,” his attorney, Nicholas Matassini, told ESPN in a 2016 profile of the troubled former WR. “He was jobless, he was bored, he had a bunch of money, and he didn’t know what to do with himself.”
In December of last year, Caldwell was among a group of former NFL players charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He pleaded guilty in January and was set to be sentenced this month, ESPN reported.
His younger brother, Andre, spent eight seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver, including as a member of the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.
“The way the game kicked him to the curb like an unwanted stepchild hurt him mentally and haunted him,” Andre told ESPN of the blame his older brother received for the dropped passes in the title game.
“So sad to hear this!” Wes Welker, who briefly overlapped with Caldwell with the Patiots. wrote on Twitter. “Reche’s smile and attitude were contagious! My thoughts and prayers go out to Bubba Caldwell and his family!”
Former Patriots tight end Ben Watson also tweeted his condolences.
“Always kept us laughing and light hearted. Always had the biggest smile. Always had the greatest stories. Sad to hear about the passing of my teammate Reche Caldwell. May the Lord comfort his family during this time.”

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