We have some very sad news to report.
Early today multiple outlets began to report that former National Football League wide receiver Reche Caldwell had been shot outside of his home in Tampa Bay, Florida and now TMZ Sports has confirmed that the 41 year old has in fact been murdered. Unfortunately it sounds like this was a senseless killing, Caldwell was reportedly set to take his girlfriend out on a date and had returned inside his home to grab a jacket only to then be ambushed by two unidentified men who proceeded to shoot him in the leg and chest. Reche's girlfriend appears to be the only witness to the crime at this time, although there may be more details surrounding this incident that we are not aware of at this time.
Reche, who's real name was Donald Caldwell, reportedly suffered wounds so severe that he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. At this time the motivation for this senseless killing is unclear but the initial details would suggest that this was a robbery, something that may also indicate that those involved may have been aware of Caldwell's status as a professional athlete.
TMZ spoke to Caldwell's mother who unsurprisingly had nothing but good things to say about her son.
"He was a good person who smiled all of the time," Deborah Caldwell said as per TMZ.
"He tried to help everyone he could. He was the type of guy who would take his shirt off his back and give it to you."
By all accounts this was a sentiment largely reflected by those who knew Caldwell and knew the impact he had in his community. Caldwell made a name for himself playing at the University of Florida and would go on to be a second round draft pick at the 2002 NFL Entry Draft. That would lead to a 6 year career in the NFL where he spent times with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and of course the New England Patriots where he participated in an AFC Championship game in 2006, eventually losing to the Indianapolis Colts.
Our thoughts go out to the Caldwell family and to all of those impacted by this senseless tragedy.
Photo Credit: Greg M Cooper/USA Today