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Former New England Patriots wide receiver Reche Caldwell shot, killed in Tampa

He played with Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2006.
Credit: AP
**FILE** New England Patriots wide receiver Reche Caldwell, left, can't haul in a pass in the end zone against the defense of Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship football game in this Jan. 21, 2007 file photo in Indianapolis. The motivation to avoid a repeat of one of the most painful days in the Patriots decade of dominance was powerful. Now, one win shy of the first 19-0 season in NFL history, and possible acclaim as the best team ever, New England is determined and driven. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, file)

TAMPA, Fla. — Former Florida Gators standout and NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell was shot and killed in Tampa Saturday night. He was 41.

His mother, Deborah Caldwell, confirmed the news to TMZ Sports on Sunday.

“He was a good person who smiled all of the time,” Caldwell’s mother told TMZ. “He tried to help everyone he could. He was the type of guy who would take his shirt of his back and give it to you.”

In a tweet, the Florida Gators said the organization was “deeply saddened by the loss of former Gator WR Reche Caldwell. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

RELATED: Tampa police investigating homicide after man is shot, killed Saturday night

The Tampa Police Department in a news release Sunday morning did not publically identify the person who was shot and killed. It said officers were sent just before 11 p.m. Saturday to the area of E. Hanna and N. Branch avenues and found a man in the front yard of a home.

Police began life-saving measures before Tampa Fire Rescue could transport him, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"This does not appear to be a random act," police said in the release. "However, it is very early in the investigation and detectives are working to develop leads in the case."

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the shooter. It can be contacted at 1-800-873-TIPS.

CBS Sports said Caldwell played for the University of Florida Gators for three seasons and won an SEC title in 2000 and the Orange Bowl in 2001 with the team. He was a second-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. 

Caldwell played for the NFL for six seasons, playing his best year in 2006 with Tom Brady and the Patriots, according to CBS Sports.

Caldwell was Brady's top target in 2006 and helped the Patriots reach the AFC Championship game. He led New England with 61 catches, 760 yards and four touchdowns 

Gator great Rex Grossman also shared his condolences, saying he remembers Caldwell " for his "unreal talent."

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