Coast Guard Calls Off Search for NFL Players

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 5:58 PM CST
Donald Nicholson, left, a friend of missing fisherman Marquis Cooper, walks with an unidentified member of Corey Smith's family at the Coast Guard station.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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(Newser) – The Coast Guard has ended its search for two NFL players and another man whose boat overturned Saturday off the Florida coast, CNN reports. Presumed dead are Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, former Detroit Lions player Corey Smith, and a former college football player, William Bleakley. A fourth man was rescued Monday clinging to the overturned boat, which capsized as the men were lifting anchor.

"We're extremely confident that if there were any (other) survivors on the surface of the water that we would have found them," said a Coast Guard official.