The New England Patriots and the NFL family were hit with tragedy on Saturday. Donald “Reche” Caldwell was murdered.
The 41-year-old was shot and killed outside of his home in Tampa, Florida. According to reports, from TMZ Sports, which were sourced by Caldwell’s mother, he was “ambushed” when a “couple of people” jumped out of bushes in what was described as an attempted robbery.
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Caldwell was shot in the leg and in the chest. There was a 911 call placed, but Caldwell, unfortunately, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. According to police officers who spoke with media:
“This does not appear to be a random act. However, it is very early in the investigation, and detectives are working to develop leads in the case. Updates will be provided as they become available.”
Tributes and acknowledgments came from family, friends, and organizations.
“He was a good person who smiled all of the time,” Caldwell’s mother Deborah told 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.”
Lawyer and Forbes contributor, Exavier Pope asked some compelling questions about the reports, and the holes left in the story:
“Reche's Caldwell’s girlfriend says the former player was ‘ambushed’ by a ‘couple of people’ who jumped out of bushes trying to rob him””
But why did they try to rob Reche Caldwell? Many questions linger w/ no arrests made in Tampa for former receiver for new Bucs QB Tom Brady https://t.co/Xm5cYIYdZA
— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) June 7, 2020
Former teammate and NFL great Chad Ocho Cinco tweeted:
R.I.P Reche Caldwell 👼🏽 pic.twitter.com/thcrVu8HC4
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) June 7, 2020
Jefferson Football acknowledged their former player.
Reche Caldwell may you Rest In Peace. Our deepest condolences to your family. Once a dragon, always a dragon. pic.twitter.com/eTmCuj8G8V
— Jefferson Football (@JBOYS_FOOTBALL) June 7, 2020
Other former teammates, including Tom Brady, paid their respects and expressed their grief:
Man this sickening 🤦🏾♂️tampa what are y’all on?? Y’all protesting bout a cop killing a black man . But we steady killing the ones that’s trying to change youngins from their hood lifes.🤬 a lot more got to change than just cop killing dawg 🥺 #RIPRECHEhttps://t.co/WDfVnt8pZX
— RayRay McCloud III (@RMIII_34) June 7, 2020
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.
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) June 7, 2020
Caldwell played for multiple teams in the NFL, and each of them took to social media to express their condolences. Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick issued a statement:
We are terribly saddened to hear of the passing of former Redskins WR Reche Caldwell.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Caldwell family along with all of Reche’s friends and teammates. pic.twitter.com/0uvTObcNRh
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) June 7, 2020
Statement from Bill Belichick regarding Reche Caldwell. pic.twitter.com/p0qJrO9kTF
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 7, 2020
We mourn the passing of six-year NFL veteran WR Reche Caldwell.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/pEBuXxFKNY
— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2020
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of former Charger Reche Caldwell.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Reche’s family, friends and teammates during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/vsoj0zeeWP
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) June 7, 2020
We are deeply saddened by the loss of former Gator WR Reche Caldwell.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. pic.twitter.com/J86KUj7yEw
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) June 7, 2020
Caldwell was originally a second-round pick out of Florida in 2002. During his career, he played for the San Diego Chargers, the Patriots, and the Washington Redskins during his six-year run in the NFL.
He did sign a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams in 2008, but he was released before the season began, and that spelled the end of his career.
Over his career, Caldwell amassed 152 receptions for 1,851 yards and 11 touchdowns in 71 games of action. Caldwell’s best season was with the Patriots. In 2006, Caldwell had 61 receptions for 760 yards and four touchdowns. This was one of the biggest plays Caldwell made while a member of the Patriots.
RIP Reche Caldwell! Here's his clutch 51 yard reception vs San Diego that helped set up the game winning FG! 😔 pic.twitter.com/OBQtTZvuHh
— Lifelong TOMpa Bay Buccaneers fan (@FTBeard1) June 7, 2020
Caldwell wasn’t re-signed for the next season, and he wound up spending what would be his final season in the NFL with the Redskins. In what has already been a year packed with tragedy and strife, Caldwell’s murder is just the latest in what has been a tough first five-plus months of 2020.
My condolences and prayers go out to Caldwell’s family during this terrible time.
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