Fishing Boat Carrying NFL Players Reported Missing in Florida

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Coast Guard is searching the waters off the west coast of Florida for a missing fishing boat with two NFL players on board, officials said.
A friend reported Oakland Raiders linebacker Victor "Marquis" Cooper, Detroit Lion defensive end Corey Smith and Nick Skyler missing at about 1:30 a.m. A fourth, unidentified person was also on the boat.
The boat departed from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater Pass early Saturday morning and was supposed to return sometimes after dark, but never did.
A Coast Guard 47-foot motor-life boat crew from Station Sand Key, Fla., HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, and the Coast Guard Cutter Crocodile are searching a 750-square mile area west of Clearwater Pass for the missing boaters.
The Oakland Raiders signed veteran free agent Cooper, 26, on Nov. 5, 2008, according to his player's biography on the team's Web site. Cooper orginally entered the NFL as a third round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.
He played in 26 games for Tampa Bay from 2004-05, one game for Seattle in 2006 and four games for Jacksonville and Pittsburgh in 2007. He has played in a total of 31 league games and has recorded 29 solo tackles.
The 29-year-old Smith is listed as an unrestricted free agent on the Lion's Web site. The Richnond, Va., native was a four-year letterman at North Carolina State and was signed by Tampa Bay in 2002.
He has been with the Lions since 2006, after a two-year stint with the the San Francisco 49ers.