Reche Caldwell dropped the ball a few times over his NFL career. But his on-field blunders apparently were nothing compared to his slip-ups off the field.
ESPN.com’s David Fleming on Thursday published a lengthy feature on Caldwell, who lasted six years in the NFL as a wide receiver and played for the New England Patriots in 2006.
The feature details Caldwell’s troubles with the law after he stopped playing: He was arrested in early 2014 for running a gambling ring, busted for drug possession with intent to distribute in May 2014 and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison in January 2015 on more drug charges.
But the most shocking parts of Caldwell’s criminal history were how he got caught. Take the location of his gambling ring, for instance: A prominent Tampa storefront outside of which he parked his bright red Jeep every day.
“What had been a sleepy little mom-and-pop car-detailing shop was overrun by as many as 40 cars and nonstop foot traffic from Friday through Monday — changes that were hard to conceal, seeing as how there was an elementary school across the street,” Fleming writes.
The SWAT team soon caught on to the “oblivious” Caldwell, who was arrested but released after posting bail. But his freedom was short-lived, thanks to an even worse blunder: In an ill-fated attempt to get into drug trafficking, Caldwell literally Googled “MDMA-Molly-China” to order a shipment of the popular party drug online. He tracked the package to his Tampa home, and gave his own signature when it arrived at his door.
“Caldwell glanced back over his shoulder at his phone sitting on a hallway table, realizing at that moment that using an app to obsessively track this package, along with another kilo he had forwarded to Atlanta, probably wasn’t the smartest idea,” Fleming writes.
Law enforcement officials were laying in wait to haul Caldwell off to prison, where he’s still serving his sentence thanks to some pretty boneheaded decisions. In fact, Caldwell’s criminal mishaps were so bad that his mother actually was relieved he got arrested before doing anything with more serious repercussions.
“Good lord that boy was a bad criminal,” his mother told ESPN.com, “and thank Jesus for that.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@NFLbyWordLink