Former Florida Gators WR Reche Caldwell shot and killed at age 41

By Adam Silverstein
June 7, 2020
Former Florida Gators WR Reche Caldwell shot and killed at age 41

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Reche Caldwell, one of the best pass catchers in program history who spent six seasons in the NFL, died Saturday after being shot outside his Tampa, Florida, home. He was 41.

No arrests have been made in the killing of Caldwell, though Tampa police believe it was not an accidental death. Caldwell’s death was confirmed by his mother to TMZ and the Tampa Bay Times. Though she provided additional details regarding the incident to TMZ, those are unsubstantiated at this time.

Caldwell enrolled at Florida in 1998 and played three years for the Gators under head coach Steve Spurrier, starring as a redshirt junior in 2001 when he picked up 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65 receptions. He compiled 2,088 yards and 18 touchdowns over his three-year career, starting 24 of the 33 games he played. He currently sits in the UF record books with the eighth-most receptions in program history (141) and eight-most yards in a single season (1,059, 2001). His six games with 100 yards receiving in 2001 are tied for fifth-most in a single season, and his 10 consecutive games with a touchdown catch are second-most in program history.

After declaring for the 2002 NFL Draft and being selected No. 48 overall in the second round by the San Diego Chargers, Caldwell only picked up 950 yards and seven touchdowns over 47 games with the team. His most successful year — by far — came in 2006 with the New England Patriots when he caught 61 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns, but after a short stint with Washington in 2007, his career was over.

Caldwell, the older brother of fellow Gators WR Andre Caldwell, had been in constant trouble with the law since ending his NFL career. He was arrested for drug possession and intent to distribute in 2014 and was picked up again in 2015 for bookmaking, running a gambling house and attempting to import an illegal drug, MDMA/Molly, from China in an incident that proved he struggled to be a successful criminal. ESPN described the 2015 incident as follows:

[Caldwell had an] epic crime spree that was eerily similar to his NFL career — short-lived, unfocused and full of colossal blunders. His 10-month rager included two SWAT raids, four arrests, a half-eaten hoagie (we’ll explain) and Maxwell House coffee tins stuffed with cash. He also faced a litany of charges for running a multimillion-dollar gambling house in West Tampa and then, after that operation got busted, attempting to import and distribute what he thought was more than 5½ pounds of pure Molly (MDMA).

After getting out of jail, Caldwell was charged in December 2019 of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He pled guilty to the charge and was awaiting sentencing, which was set to be handed down in June. will update this story as more information is made available.

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