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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Ex-football star Caldwell arrested in Tampa

A former Tampa football star who played at the University of Florida before going on to play for three NFL teams was arrested Sunday evening, charged with possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.

Donald Reche Caldwell, 35, was in his 2012 Jeep Wrangler when he was pulled over by Tampa police at the corner of North Fremont Avenue and West Cypress Street shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday.

Police stopped Caldwell after he ran a stop sign, police said. Records show Caldwell’s license had been suspended three times since 1999. He had a speeding ticket in Georgia and the fine had not been paid, so his license was suspended a fourth time last month, police said. He told officers he thought his mother had paid the ticket and was unaware his license had been suspended.

He said he didn’t see the stop sign until it was too late. A search found a small amount of marijuana in his pants pocket, police said.

Caldwell told arresting officers that he was not aware there was pot in his pocket.

“ ‘I would have eaten it had I known it was there,’ ” he told officers, according to the arrest report.

Caldwell was booked into the Hillsborough County jail and was released early Monday morning after posting $2,500 bail.

Caldwell, an All-America quarterback at Jefferson High School before he went onto play wide receiver in college and the NFL, was arrested along with five other men in Tampa seven months ago in connection with an illegal gambling operation. He is awaiting trial on those charges, court records say.

He attended UF from 1998 to 2001, and his best season was as a junior, when he had 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns. Caldwell was picked in the second round (48th overall) of the 2002 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He signed with the New England Patriots in 2006, then played the 2007 season with the Washington Redskins.

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