Former Patriots and Chargers WR Reche Caldwell Reportedly Shot and Killed in Tampa Ambush

New England Patriots WR Reche Caldwell in the AFC Championship
New England Patriots WR Reche Caldwell in the AFC Championship | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A contributor on some of the best NFL teams in the early 2000s has tragically lost his life this weekend.

Reche Caldwell, who was a star at Florida and played seven seasons as a receiver in the NFL, died in Tampa at the age of 41 after being "ambushed" by several people when he was coming home from a date.

After a tremendous college career at Florida in which he was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, Caldwell was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He spent four years in San Diego in Marty Schottenheimer's run-heavy offense, usually serving as the No. 3 wide receiver. While he was an explosive target down the field for Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, he never picked up more than 352 yards in a season, partially due to an ACL injury early in his career that hampered his quickness.

Caldwell's best season came with the New England Patriots in 2006, when he caught 61 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns on a Patriots team that made it to the AFC Championship game. He left the NFL after a year with the Washington Redskins in 2007, ending his career with 1,851 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns.

Caldwell's post-football life had some rough points, as he was sentenced to 27 months in jail in 2015 for possession of MDMA with intent to distribute, as well as gambling charges. He was due to be sentenced this month after pleading guilty to committing health care fraud in December 2019.

Caldwell had a decent pro career and a legendary stint at Florida. He was taken from us far too soon at just 41 years old.