NFL Players Among Missing Boaters in Florida *BOAT FOUND*

Posted by BOC Staff | Missing Persons | Sunday 1 March 2009 2:46 pm


Sadly, the Coast Guard has announced that they will suspend the current search efforts for Will Bleakely, Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith at sundown today. They do not believe any of the missing men are on the surface on the water. Please keep these men, their friends and families in your thoughts and prayers.


The fishing boat that has been missing since Saturday belonging to Marquis Cooper has been located. 

Boat Found

Image courtesy AP

Missing boater Nick Schuyler was clinging to the vessel when it was spotted about 30 miles off the Gulf Coast and is alive. He was airlifted to an undiscosed Hospital in Tampa Bay. At this time, the other three boaters, Marqis Cooper, Corey Smith and Will Bleakely have not been located. All three others were reported to have been wearing life vests and the search for them continues. News footage of Schulyer showed him weak, but able to speak to rescuers. He told them the boat was anchored when the rough waters caused it to flip over and that he had been clinging to it since then.

He was seperated from the other 3 men immediately and had not seen them since. Stay tuned for updates. 


Clearwater Florida, Pinellas County – Two popular NFL players and 2 USFL players have been reported missing following their failure to return to shore  as scheduled early this morning at 1:30am.

Bleakley  Cooper  Smith  Schuyler

Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith and Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, both former Tampa Bay Buccaneer players have been reported missing along with at least two others. According to the Coast Guard, former USFL players Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler were also on board the fishing vessel when it left on Saturday morning at 6:30 am from the Seminole boat ramp. The boat, owned by Cooper, had been used by the pair on fishing trips previously.

Ron Del Duca, Smith’s agent, confirmed he has spoken with the Coast Guard and Smith’s family and all methods to locate the group are being deployed by the Coast Guard.

“They’ve assured me that they’re deploying all available resources to look for these guys and get them back,” he said. Davis said the water was “extremely rough and choppy” on Sunday afternoon.”

Smith was due to begin meeting with teams as a free agent this week.

Bill Keenist, spokesmen for the Detroit Lions, had heard their was a boat missing but could not confirm Smith was on it.

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

A source within the Coast Guard has confirmed there was a small craft advisory last evening after waves swelled from 2–4ft earlier in the day to 20 knot winds and up to 7 foot seas. The search is currently focused on a 750 mile radius outside of Clearwater. 

There is no evidence to indicate this incident is related to the recent upsurge in crimes against NFL players that has caused several players to retain 24 hour bodyguards. Earlier this year, Quarterback for the reigning Superbowl Champions, Ben Rothlesberger, reported he had hired 2 guards and refused to go anywhere without them.


US Coast Guard Captain Timothy M. Close has confirmed usage of a 87 foot rescue boat, combined with USCG helicopters over a 750 mile area and other assets have not turned up any sight of the 21 Ft. vessel or it’s passengers. Close said at least one of the men was an experienced boater, but the craft was relatively small for conditions Saturday evening.

 “A 21-foot boat is a relatively small vessel to be 50 miles off shore in bad weather conditions, certainly the current weather conditions,” Close said.

Close went on to say there had been no communication with the men prior to the degrading weather conditions, and no signals or contact was received from them whatsoever. Coopers truck and boat trailer remained in the parking lot Sunday evening with what appeared to be a handwritten note under the windshield wiper. It read “please call the coastguard, someone was worried about your well being.”  




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  1. [...] Cooper are among four boaters reported missing Sunday off Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Coast Guard is presently searching for the 21 foot boat that left Clearwater Pass on Saturday morning for a fishing trip and did not [...]

  2. Blink says:

    Searches were hampered yesterday by rough seas. They were concentrated on a 50 Mi offshore area the group had visited last weekend of a shipwreck where the fish are abundant, according to Stu Schuyler, father of missing boater Nick Schuyler.

    My thoughts and prayers are with these men and there families.

  3. TM says:

    Boat found with one survivor, according to Orlando Sentinel.

  4. Blink says:

    Correct TM, with one found survivor, Nick Schuyler at this time, but encouraging news all were wearing life vests.

  5. [...] 3 days and combing over 24,000 miles of ocean, the Coast Guard search has been halted. On Monday, searchers found Nick Schuyler alive clinging to the capsized boat providing some hope that the other 3 fisherman would be found. [...]

  6. no excuses says:

    I’m afraid to go to Florida, i’m afraid i’ll end up missing!!!

  7. Denis says:

    Little boat.poor man in charge probably suicidal or jealous

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