Over a week has passed since the murder of former San Diego Chargers wide receiver Reche Caldwell in his hometown of Tampa, and local authorities have still not confirmed a motive for his killing or identified any persons of interest related to the case.
Caldwell died on June 6 of gunshot wounds after an apparent robbery attempt outside his home. The former NFL wideout had planned to take his girlfriend out for a date that night after returning home to retrieve a jacket. While there, a group of armed individuals ambushed him and fired shots into his chest and leg. Caldwell died in an ambulance en route to a local hospital.
"It has been a week already and it hasn't gotten any easier," the mother or Caldwell's girlfriend told Fox 13. "It is never going to be easy."
At this time, authorities have not made any arrests related to the case. While Caldwell's family believes he died during a robbery gone wrong, police have not yet confirmed that version of events.
"They did not have to take his life," Caldwell's cousin Rolanda Denson said. "I am pretty sure he pleaded with them to not kill him because of his children, his mother."
Caldwell grew up in Tampa, becoming a star football player at Jefferson High School. He went on to a productive collegiate career at the University of Florida before entering the NFL as a second-round draft pick. Caldwell played four years for the Chargers, catching 76 passes for 950 yards and seven touchdowns. He also played for the New England Patriots and Washington.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH