NFL players missing at sea

Posted by Andy Durham on March 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm under Professional | Read the First Comment

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP)—Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith and Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper were among four boaters missing Sunday off Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Coast Guard and Smith’s agent said.

Smith and Cooper were on a 21-foot vessel that left Clearwater Pass for a fishing trip Saturday morning and did not return as expected, the Coast Guard said Sunday. Crews used a helicopter and a 47-foot boat to search a 750-square mile area west of Clearwater Pass on Sunday.

Cooper owns the boat and he and Smith have been on fishing trips before, said Ron Del Duca, Smith’s agent. The pair had been teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. The Coast Guard said two others were aboard, identified as Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler. The St. Petersburg Times on its Web site identified them as former University of South Florida players. Calls to the school by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Coast Guard Capt. Timothy M. Close said the weather early Saturday had been fair, but worsened toward the evening as a front still battering the area moved in. The National Weather Service said seas were about 2 to 4 feet Saturday morning and increased to 3 to 5 feet in the afternoon. Late Saturday night, a small craft advisory was issued, when winds were around 20 knots and seas were up to 7 feet or more. There were no thunderstorms in the area.

Close said the men were traveling in a boat manufactured by Everglades. At least one of the men was an experienced boater, and relatives provided the Coast Guard with GPS coordinates from previous fishing expeditions.

Close said there was no communication with the men even before the weather started to pick up. They were expected home by early evening. No sign of them or the boat has been spotted.

Poor weather conditions could be dangerous for a boat the size of Cooper’s.

from yahoosports at yahoo.com


  • Doug Cockman said,

    Corey Smith played his college ball at NC State.