<strong>July 28, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2204">Chargers.com</a>
Chargers wide receiver Reche Caldwell's smile is a little bigger these days. On July 2nd, he married his longtime girlfriend Sheron Patterson, and after an offseason of rehabbing a knee injury he suffered last season, Caldwell is healthy and poised for a big season in 2005.
"Everything is beautiful," Caldwell said. "I couldn't ask for anything better. I'm healthy and getting ready for a good year, and I've got a beautiful wife to enjoy life with."
Caldwell, who had he season cut short last fall when he suffered a torn ACL in the Chargers Oct. 17 contest at Atlanta, was one of a handful of veterans who joined Chargers rookies and first year players for two days of practice this week before the entire team begins working together on Friday. For the former Florida Gator, the additional work has been invaluable.
"I'm fortunate to have a little extra time to get out there and get my routes down," Caldwell said. "I'm getting to work with the quarterbacks and get our communication in sync. It just feels good to get out there and run around in that heat. I need to get in a little better shape, so it's good for me to be out there early."
Caldwell spent an extensive amount of time with James Collins and the Chargers training staff during the offseason, but he has regained full strength and mobility in knee.
"It doesn't bother me at all. I can run and cut just like before," Caldwell said. "I've still got my speed and quickness. I'm definitely 100 percent. The only thing I have to do now is get a lot stronger and build up my stamina. Other than that, I'm good to go."
Prior to his injury, Caldwell was playing perhaps the best football of his career. He 18 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns when he went down. His three touchdown catches tied a career high, and he needed just four more receptions to match his best output.
"It's always frustrating when you get hurt, but it was even more disappointing for me because I felt like I was playing really well," Caldwell said. "Drew (Brees) and I were just on the same page early last year, and hopefully we'll be able to pick things up right where we left off."
When Caldwell went down, Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was disappointed for both the player and the person, but Caldwell's boss is impressed with how his young pupil has battled back.
"It just broke my heart when he got hurt," Schottenheimer said. "You have guys that have gone through adversity and you're anxious to see them get their rehabilitation done and come back and Reche has done a good job in that regard."
A year ago, tight end Antonio Gates led the Chargers in receptions with 81 catches. Eric Parker led all receivers with 53 grabs, and Keenan McCardell added 47 receptions after joining the team mid-season. Caldwell is excited to compete with the talented group of receivers and is excited about his opportunity to become a playmaker in Cam Cameron's offense.
"I would like the have the opportunity to be a go-to guy," Caldwell said. "I think last year I was leading up to be that guy before I got hurt. I've got to get back to a point where I'm making plays when they call my number and just doing the things I can to help. We have a lot of talent on this offense, but I know that I've got the ability to be a big contributor, and that's just what I want to do."