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Missing boater Nick Schuyler found: 3 still missing!

Posted in Breaking News, Education, Football, News, NFL, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

NFL players still missing in Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued one of four boaters on Monday missing in the Gulf of Mexico since Saturday and continued the search for two National Football League players and another man.

The rescued man was identified as Nick Schuyler, 24, of Tampa, Florida. Still missing were Corey Smith, a defensive end who played last season with the Detroit Lions, linebacker Marquis Cooper, who was with the Oakland Raiders, and William Bleakley, a former Florida college football player.

Schuyler was able to communicate with his rescuers and was taken by a Coast Guard helicopter to Tampa General Hospital.

A Coast Guard spokesman told reporters in St. Petersburg that Schuyler was found clinging to the overturned 21-foot (6-metre) fishing boat 35 miles (55 km) off the west coast of Florida on Monday morning.

The Coast Guard said it was searching the area around the boat for the missing men.

The agency had used several aircraft and ships in a search of 16,000 square miles (41,400 sq km) in the Gulf of Mexico since Saturday.

The four left Clearwater Beach on a fishing trip on Saturday morning and had been expected to return by Saturday afternoon. The area was hit by a cold front on Saturday night that caused high seas and strong winds.

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.

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.

Schuyler and Bleakley, 25, both played college football at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

(Reporting by Robert Green, editing by Jim Loney)

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Two NFL players among missing boaters

Posted in Breaking News, Football, News, NFL, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

Agent: 2 NFL players among Fla. missing boaters

Associated Press/AP

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

Smith owned the boat and he and Cooper had been on fishing trips before, said Ron Del Duca, Smith’s agent. The pair had been teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.

Smith, 29, had 30 tackles, including three sacks, and an interception in 12 games last season for the winless Lions. Smith, who is 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, also played for the San Francisco 49ers and played college ball at North Carolina State.

Del Duca called Smith one of the “good guys” of the league and was planning to start visiting teams as a free agent this week. He said he has spoken with Smith’s family and is also in touch with Coast Guard officials.

“They’ve assured me that they’re deploying all available resources to look for these guys and get them back,” he said.

Cooper, 26, has played sparingly in five seasons with the Buccaneers, Seahawks, Jaguars, Steelers and Raiders. Cooper, who is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, played college ball at Washington.

Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa, 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.

Davis said the water was “extremely rough and choppy” on Sunday afternoon.

Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said he had heard Smith was aboard a missing boat but hadn’t been able to confirm it.

“We’re aware of the media reports,” Keenist said Sunday afternoon. “We’re trying to find out what we can.”