POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - 4:35pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:23pm
Coast Guard calls off search for missing NFL players and friend...
The desperate search for three men lost in the waters near Tampa, Florida has been called off.
NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and another friend are still missing, while their rescued friend is now recovering in a Tampa hospital.
As Marquis Cooper's family waited at the Coast Guard station, they held onto their faith and the knowledge that the Oakland Raiders linebacker is a fighter, with a wife and three-year-old waiting for him.
"He's got a lot fight for," said Bruce Cooper, Marquis' father. "There's no way he's not thinking of them while he's out there on that water. He's going to fight to get back to them."
Cooper was an avid fisherman.
"His boat was his best friend. When I say he lived in his boat it was an every weekend thing," said friend Mia Lanz.
This time he was on that boat with Detroit Lions free agent Corey Smith and two other friends, William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler.
Schuyler was plucked from the Gulf Monday after hanging on to the capsized boat for almost two days.
"They had the boat anchored and in the process of trying to raise the anchor the boat flipped at some point late saturday afternoon," said Coast Guard Captain Timothy Close.
Schuyler said they swam under the boat to get lifejackets, and that all four men had them on.
After hanging on for some time, three of them were swept away into the cold and dangerous waters.
It is believed a person can only survive about 40 hours in water that temperature.
The three had been in the water for almost 72 hours.