Coast Guard To End Search For NFL Players
Lions DE, Raiders LB Missing Off Fla. Gulf Coast
POSTED: Sunday, March 1, 2009
UPDATED: 3:12 pm CST March 3, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Coast Guard will end its search Tuesday for three missing boaters -- including two NFL players -- off of the Florida Gulf Coast.
"We're extremely confident that if there were any survivors on the surface of the water that we would have found them," the Coast Guard said.
Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent Corey Smith and former college player William Bleakley have been missing since Saturday. A fourth member of their party, Nick Schuyler, was found Monday, along with the overturned boat.
The Coast Guard said they found a life jacket and a cooler during their search, which included 50 missions during the 60 hours since the initial phone call that the boaters were missing.
The Coast Guard warned any amateur search parties to use "extreme caution" when on the water.
Cooper -- who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 -- owns the 21-foot boat that 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."
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.
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.
Coast Guard To End Search For NFL Players - San Antonio Sports News Story - KSAT San Antonio
And the family, very sad indeed.
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The family of NFL player Marquis Cooper says they have decided to discontinue their search for the 26-year-old man and two friends still missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a statement released Friday, Bruce Cooper said his family is beginning the healing process, and needs time to be together and remember his son. Cooper described his son as a great father and husband.
The football player was aboard a 21-foot fishing boat last Saturday evening when it capsized in rough seas. Only former University of South Florida player Nick Schuyler was found alive.
The Coast Guard called off its search on Tuesday, but the Cooper family had remained optimistic, enlisting private pilots and charter boats to continue the search.
Family calls off search for missing NFL player
"When Events Test Men, Angels Appear"
RICHMOND, Va. – The Detroit Lions are retiring the number 93 jersey for the upcoming season in memory of defensive lineman Corey Smith, who disappeared when a boat capsized off the Florida coast.
Smith, a free agent who played the past three seasons with Detroit, is one of three men who went missing off the Gulf Coast after their 21-foot fishing boat capsized in rough seas three weeks ago.
Galen Duncan of the Lions' front office announced the one-year retirement of Smith's jersey number at a memorial service Saturday in Smith's hometown of Richmond, Va.
Several hundred mourners, including Smith's former teammates from the NFL, North Carolina State and high school attended the service.
Smith's high school coach, Kevin Burden, says he prays for a guardian angel who wears the number 93.
(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. corrects spelling of Corey Smith in overlines.)
Detroit Lions to retire Corey Smith's No. 93
"When Events Test Men, Angels Appear"
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