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#987569 --- 03/02/09 02:58 AM TWO NFL PLAYERS MISSING
*Sparkey* Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 8263
Loc: Baby Jail
Two NFL players on boat missing off Florida
The U.S. Coast Guard searched the Gulf of Mexico off Florida on Sunday for a missing boat with four people aboard, including two National Football League players.

Defensive end Corey Smith, who played last season with the Detroit Lions, and linebacker Marquis Cooper, who was with the Oakland Raiders, were on the boat, said Ron Del Duca, Smith's agent.

The other two men were identified as Nick Skyler and William Bleakley, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Smith and Cooper were friends who began their professional careers with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL team that plays not far from where the missing boat left shore in Clearwater, Florida, early on Saturday morning.

"They both played ball with the Tampa Bay Bucs, both live in the Tampa area and work out at the same gym," said Del Duca, who described Cooper as an experienced sailor.

He said the men left on Cooper's boat for a fishing trip and apparently ran into a storm front.

"The weather was fine when they left, but a cold front came through," he said. "Wind and waves."

A small boat advisory was in effect on Sunday for Gulf waters off Clearwater, warning of potentially dangerous conditions.

The forecast called for winds up to 30 miles per hour (50 km per hour) and seas up to 10 feet near shore and 14 feet offshore on Sunday night. Temperatures on shore could dip as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees C), forecasters said.

The 21-foot (6-meter) boat left from a boat ramp at Clearwater Pass and was reported missing when it failed to return as scheduled. The Coast Guard said it was searching about 50 miles west of Clearwater Pass.

According to the NFL's website, Smith, 29, played college football at North Carolina State and has 83 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks in six seasons with Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Detroit.

Cooper, 26, has 37 tackles in five seasons split between Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Seattle, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Oakland.
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#987752 --- 03/02/09 01:04 PM Re: TWO NFL PLAYERS MISSING [Re: *Sparkey*]
SkySoldier Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 25300
Loc: Finger Lakes National Forest, ...
They found one of the four missing ( two were from the University of Miami) foot ball players clinging to the overturned boat, 30 miles out in the Gulf, about two hours ago.

Now that they know where to look, they have intensified the search for the other three. All were wearing bright orange life preservers. So they have a shot.


I hope that all are found quickly. It's been almost 3 days and, even though the waters are relatively warm, hypothermia is a big concern.
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#988494 --- 03/03/09 05:04 PM Re: TWO NFL PLAYERS MISSING [Re: SkySoldier]
nymmamma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 11501
Loc: at the game
They just reported on ESPN the search is being called off at 6:30pm and they are presumed dead. What a tragedy.
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#988512 --- 03/03/09 05:27 PM Re: TWO NFL PLAYERS MISSING [Re: nymmamma]
nymmamma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 11501
Loc: at the game
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