Past teammates mourn death of former Gator, NFL star who was fatally shot in Tampa

Wide receiver Reche Caldwell #87 of the New England Patriots reacts to fans during training camp practice on July 27, 2007 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tributes for a former Florida Gator and NFL star wide-receiver poured out over the weekend after former teammates and others confirmed Reche Caldwell was killed in a Tampa shooting.

Caldwell started his football career at Jefferson High School before eventually making it to the NFL. 

Tampa police have yet to make an arrest in the deadly shooting, or reveal many details about the investigation. According to TMZ, Caldwell was shot and killed outside of his home Saturday night in the 3600 block of East Hanna Avenue.

His mother told TMZ he was getting ready to go out on a date with his girlfriend when he went back inside his home to grab a jacket. She said a couple of people ambushed him as he was coming back out, jumping out of the bushes to try and rob him. They shot Caldwell in the leg and chest.

Caldwell was not named in a police report on the incident per Marsy's law, but the report said, early in the investigation, the shooting “does not appear to be a random act.”

Caldwell was 41 years old.  

The University of Florida and Caldwell’s three NFL teams — the Chargers, Patriots and Redskins — were among those to tweet condolences to his family, along with former Florida coach Steve Spurrier and former Gators quarterback Rex Grossman.

Spurrier tweeted that Caldwell “was one of the best WR’s in school history and was very instrumental in winning the 2000 SEC Championship.”

“RIP Reche,” Grossman wrote. “You were one of my favorite teammates of all time. I will always remember our time at Florida for your unreal talent, infectious humor, and our shared success as a team. You will be missed by all your Gator family.”

Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted a photo tribute to his Instagram page, with one photo showing Brady and Caldwell in an on-field embrace.

Caldwell was awaiting sentencing this month after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, along with several other former NFL players. He also served prison time on a 2014 drug charge.

Caldwell was drafted by San Diego in the second round in 2002. He had 152 catches for 1,851 yards and 11 touchdowns in six NFL seasons — four with the Chargers and one each with New England and Washington.

Caldwell’s brother Andre Caldwell also was a Florida and NFL receiver.

The Associated Press contributed to this report