NFL Players Missing After Fishing Trip

The Coast Guard is searching for Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and two others.

ByScott Mayerowitz
March 01, 2009, 1:06 PM

March 1, 2009— -- At least two NFL players are missing after their fishing boat disappeared about 50 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

Victor "Marquis" Cooper, of the Oakland Raiders, and Corey Smith, of the Detroit Lions, are among the four boaters that the Coast Guard is searching for today.

A 21-foot center-console boat with four people left the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater Pass, Fla., at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Coast Guard in St. Petersburg. The boaters were supposed to return after dark but never did.

At 1:30 this morning, the Coast Guard received a call from a friend saying that the boaters were overdue. The Coast Guard said the third boater was Nick Skyler and did not identify the fourth person. ABC News Tampa affiliate WFTS learned from a Coast Guard dispatcher that some of the boaters were NFL players.

Cooper, whose truck and trailer is till parked at the boat ramp where the men left from, is a linebacker with the Oakland Raiders. Smith is a defensive end for the Detroit Lions. Both began their careers with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Officials say the waters in the Gulf are extremely choppy and they believe the boat is in distress.

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.

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