CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Coast Guard was searching off Florida's Gulf Coast on Sunday for a fishing boat carrying NFL players Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper and two other men missing nearly a day in choppy seas.
Smith and Cooper were on a 21-foot vessel that left Clearwater Pass for a fishing trip Saturday morning and did not return as expected, the Coast Guard said Sunday. Crews used a helicopter and a 47-foot boat to search a 750-square mile area west of Clearwater Pass, but poor weather made the search difficult. Officials did not receive a distress signal from the missing craft.
"We are in contact with the Coast guard and Corey's family has been informed," Smith's agent Ron Del Duca told ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. "Corey is one of the good guys out there. We're just waiting for more information and hoping for the best."
Troy Asmus, one of Cooper's agents, said he has been in contact with the NFL and that the league is aware of the situation.
"I have been in contact with the Coast Guard and they are continuing to work hard to find everyone," Asmus told Williamson. "We are hoping and praying for the best."
Cooper owns the boat and he and Smith have been on fishing trips before, Del Duca said. The pair had been teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. The Coast Guard said two others were aboard, identified as Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler. Two others were aboard: Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler, both former University of South Florida players.