Coast Guard Seeks Missing NFL Players

They went fishing with friends in Fla. and never returned
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2009 5:05 PM CST
US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer, Robert Florisi, sits in the open door of a US Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter, April 5, 2003 in Virginia.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Coast Guard is scanning choppy waters off Florida's Gulf Coast for two NFL players and their friends, the St. Petersburg Times reports. Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions and Victor Cooper of the Oakland Raiders went fishing with two friends yesterday and never returned. Their 21-foot boat is "a small vessel for the conditions that are out there right now," a Coast Guard commander said.

Crews are scouring a 750-mile zone west of Clearwater Pass, but 14-foot seas and 30-mile-per winds "continue to hamper the search and rescue efforts," the commander said. Friends and family say they're praying for good news. "It's really upsetting when you know both guys really well,” said a former Bucs linebacker, who called Cooper "very experienced on the water."