TAMPA (WFLA) — Tampa man and former NFL player Donald “Reche” Caldwell died Saturday after police found him in his front yard with a gunshot wound.
The Tampa Police Dept. said the shooting occurred at a residence near North 36th Street and East Hanna Avenue around 10:57 p.m. Police did not release Caldwell’s name, but his mother confirmed the report to News Channel 8.
Deborah Caldwell said her son was shot in the leg and chest in an “ambush” at his home just before heading out on a date with his girlfriend.
Deborah said Reche’s last words were, “Tell everybody I love them.”
The former wide receiver was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Caldwell’s seven year career included a 2006 season with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots where he had his best statistical season.
Caldwell attended the University of Florida where he appeared in the SEC Championship game in 2000.
Before he was a Gator he was a Dragon, playing football at Jefferson High School in Tampa. His former coach, Darlee Nelson remembers the days he played for him in the 90’s.
“There was no doubt about his ability, but not just by me but by Reche. Reche had the utmost confidence in his ability as an athlete,” said Nelson.
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