CLEARWATER, FLORIDA (TICKER) —The Coast Guard is conducting a search in the Gulf of Mexico for a fishing boat with two NFL players on board.
According to Clearwater’s ABC Action News affiliate, a 21-foot fishing boat left the area at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and did not return at its scheduled time later in the day.
Citing a call from the Coast Guard dispatcher, the television station reported that two of the passengers are Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith and Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper.
The boat, which had four people on board, was reported missing at about 1:30 a.m. Officials stated that gulf waters were “extremely choppy” and believe that the boat is “in distress.” NFL players missing at sea - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
The Coast Guard is searching for up to four missing boaters, including two active NFL players near St. Petersburg, Fla.
Among the missing is Detroit defensive end Corey Smith and Oakland linebacker Marquis Cooper. Also on board is Nick Skyler. A press release sent out by the Coast Guard also said there is a possible fourth person on board. Agents for both Smith and Cooper confirmed that their clients are among the missing.
"We are in contact with the Coast guard and Corey's family has been informed," Smith's agent Ron Del Duca said. "Corey is one of the good guys out there. We're just waiting for more information and hoping for the best."
Troy Asmus, one of Cooper's agents, said he has been in contact with the NFL and that the league is aware of the situation.
"I have been in contact with the Coast Guard and they are continuing to work hard to find everyone," Asmus said. "We are hoping and praying for the best."
Cooper and Smith played together in Tampa Bay in 2004.
In its press release, the Coast Guard Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., received a call at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday that the party did not return from their fishing trip. In the release, the Coast Guard said four boaters left at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater Pass, in a 21-foot center console boat.
The Coast Guard search remains active. Crews used a helicopter and a 47-foot motor-life boat to search a 750-square mile area west of Clearwater Pass on Sunday.
Asmus said he has been in touch with Coast Guard officials and he was told there were 14-foot waves and 45 MPH winds in the waters overnight where his party was fishing. Asmus said he was told that the party's truck and trailer remains at the dock where the boat launched. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3943945