Caldwell with the Patriots in 2006
|No. 82, 87, 86|
|Born:||March 28, 1979|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school:||Thomas Jefferson|
|NFL Draft:||2002 / Round: 2 / Pick: 48|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Donald Reche Caldwell, Jr. (; REE-shay; born March 28, 1979) is an American former college and professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for six seasons in the early 2000s. Caldwell played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins of the NFL.
Caldwell was born in Tampa, Florida in 1979. He attended Jefferson High School in Tampa, where he was a three-sport standout in high school football, basketball and baseball for the Jefferson Dragons. In football, Caldwell started at tailback as a freshman; as a sophomore, he converted to quarterback--a position he had never played--and threw for 6,936 yards and seventy-seven touchdowns as a three-year starter. As a junior in 1996, he threw for 2,338 yards, led the Dragons to the Class 5A state semifinal game, earned high school All-American honors from PrepStar, and was named the Florida Class 5A Player of the Year. He was a first-team all-state selection in 1996 and a second-team selection in 1997.
In four high school baseball seasons, he set the Jefferson Dragons' career records for batting average (.379), doubles (25), triples (six), steals (67) and runs (76). The Cincinnati Reds selected him in the 1998 MLB Draft in 1998, but he decided to play college football instead.
Caldwell accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he was a three-year letterman for coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1998 to 2001. As a junior in 2001, he was a third-team All-American selection by The National Sports Bureau, an honorable mention All-American selection by the Football News, a semi-finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award (annually given to nation's top receiver), and a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. He finished his impressive junior season with sixty-five receptions for 1,059 yards (an average of 16.3 yards per catch) and ten touchdowns, becoming only the ninth receiver in Gators history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. Caldwell majored in leisure service management.
Caldwell was selected in the second round (forty-eighth choice overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, and he played for the Chargers for four seasons from 2002 to 2005. In his rookie season, he had twenty-two catches for 208 yards and three touchdowns and returned nine kickoffs for a 24.4-yard average. In 2003, he played in nine games with four starts for the Chargers; he caught eight passes for eighty yards and rushed for thirty-nine yards on five carries.
His 2004 season began with three touchdown receptions in the Chargers' first five games. However, in a game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6, Caldwell suffered a knee injury, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and was lost for the season. He returned to play a full season in 2005. Yet, the Chargers did not re-sign Caldwell after 2005. During his stint with the Chargers, his reputation for dropping passes earned him the nickname "Ricochet" among fans since footballs would seemingly bounce off his hands.
Caldwell subsequently signed with the New England Patriots prior to the 2006 season. He went on to total over 60 catches and 700 yards on the season. During a playoff game against the Chargers, Caldwell had seven receptions for 80 yards, including a four-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Tom Brady in the fourth quarter. A week later in the AFC Championship game, he dropped two passes during the Patriots' 38-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Caldwell was released by the Patriots four days before the first game of the 2007 season.
On March 25, 2008, Caldwell signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Rams. However, it was short-lived as he was released during the final preseason roster cuts.
In his six-season NFL career, Caldwell appeared in seventy-one games, starting in twenty-nine of them, while making 152 receptions for 1,851 yards and eleven touchdowns. He also tallied fourteen carries for 108 yards rushing.
Caldwell is the older brother of Andre Caldwell, former Florida Gators wide receiver and NFL wide receiver and kick returner who is currently a free agent.
On May 14, 2014, Caldwell was arrested for drug possession and intent to distribute. On January 30, 2015, he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and three years probation for possession of MDMA with intent to distribute. In addition, he pleaded guilty to drug charges involving marijuana and ecstasy, along with charges involving gambling.
On December 12, 2019, Caldwell was accused by the Justice Department of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.