Fans of the New England Patriots should be familiar with wide receiver Reche Caldwell. He was the team's leading receiver in 2006 and is blamed with multiple crucial drops in the AFC Championship game that allowed the Colts to claw their way back towards a Super Bowl title.
Caldwell understands that's what he's best known for in the region.
Even though he recovered the infamous Marlon McCree fumble forced by Troy Brown late against the Chargers in the Divisional Round. Even though he caught the touchdown pass later in the drive that tied the game. Even though he caught a major 49-yard catch on 3rd and 10 to set up a Stephen Gostkowski chip shot to win the game on the Patriots final drive.
"No one remembers that game," Caldwell told ESPN. "Only the next. What else can I do? It's not like I was trying to drop those passes."
Caldwell's life has gone off the rails after that game. He moved to Tampa and opened up an illegal gambling ring, tried to sell drugs, and ESPN has the full story on his downfall from Patriots leading receiver to his stay in prison.
"Caldwell was so oblivious to any threat from law enforcement that when the first police flash grenade shook the building," David Fleming, the author of the article, writes. "He took another few bites of his sandwich and turned up the volume on the game. 'Then -- boom -- another one went off,' he says, 'so I get up and walk out, and there's like 50 police and tanks ramming the door and guys screaming and swarming in from everywhere, helicopters and sirens and smoke, total chaos, and it's still not registering.'
"Unaware and a bit annoyed, he says, Caldwell walked right into the haze, coughing and waving the smoke away from his face. Swarmed by SWAT members, on his way to the ground, a still exasperated Caldwell yelled, 'Damn, man, you blasted the door with a tank? Why didn't ya just knock? I woulda let y'all in.'"
"Good lord that boy was a bad criminal," Caldwell's mom tells Fleming, "and thank Jesus for that."
As for Caldwell's attempt to sell drugs, that was even worse than the 2006 AFC Championship game. He tried to sell MDMA (or molly) after buying an order from a website, but a chemist proved that "that on a molecular level Caldwell's bargain-bin drugs were a far less potent form of MDMA and therefore should fall under more lenient sentencing guidelines."
It's always sad to see a player lose his path after his career ends and Caldwell is no exception. Caldwell is a year through his 27 month sentence. Read how he got there here.