NFL Players' Boat, 1 Survivor Found
Lions DE, Raiders LB Missing Off Fla. Gulf Coast
POSTED: Sunday, March 1, 2009
UPDATED: 12:51 pm CST March 2, 2009
Marquis Cooper and three other men were last seen in this boat off of Florida's Gulf Coast.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Coast Guard found an overturned boat and one survivor Monday. It was uncertain if it was the boat carrying the missing two NFL players who didn't return from a weekend boating trip.
The missing men included NFL players Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions and Marquis Cooper of the Oakland Raiders, and former college football players Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler. ESPN reported Monday that the person found by the Coast Guard was Schuyler. He was reportedly clinging to the found boat when he was rescued.
Cooper owns the 21-foot boat, which didn't return as expected Saturday night when the weather took a turn for the worse. Other boaters said they were surprised the water had gotten so rough. There were 7-foot seas in the area Saturday night.
"Marquis is an avid fisherman; he goes deep sea fishing any opportunity he gets," Bruce Cooper, Marquis' father, said in a statement. "Two years ago I went deep sea fishing with him. I swore I would never do so again; I didn't like the fact that I couldn't see land. Needless to say, I am very concerned. I am praying and hoping for the best. Marquis was scheduled to report in Oakland on March 16 to began off-season workouts with the Oakland Raiders."
Bruce Cooper said he and his wife were alerted to Marquis' disappearance when they received a phone call from the parents of the NFL player's wife, Rebekah. Bruce Cooper said his son usually stayed out fishing for 12-14 hours, but his wife called authorities when she hadn't heard from him by 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Earlier Monday the Coast Guard said it has searched 16,000 square miles of water off Florida's Gulf Coast. The Coast Guard said it didn't receive a distress call from the missing boaters.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. NFL Players' Boat, 1 Survivor Found - San Antonio Sports News Story - KSAT San Antonio