Coast Guard Losing Hope: NFL Dad

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2009 12:16 PM CST
Bruce Cooper, father of Marquis Cooper speaks during a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The father of an NFL player among three men lost at sea said today the Coast Guard's hopes of finding survivors off the Florida Gulf Coast are waning. Bruce Cooper, father of Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, says he still has hope. But the Coast Guard told families privately that officials weren't optimistic because of the timeframe and possibility of hypothermia.

The search for Cooper, free-agent lineman Corey Smith, and former college player William Bleakley is in its third day. The Coast Guard wouldn't publicly say whether they thought the men are still alive. But officials did say the search was aided by information from Nick Schuyler, who was rescued yesterday clutching the boat's hull. Schuyler says the men put on life vests after the boat overturned Saturday.