Wednesday, March 4, 2009


By now, you’ve heard the story about the four men lost at sea over the weekend. Early Monday, the Coast Guard rescued Nick Schuyler, a former University of South Florida player, clinging to their capsized boat 35 miles off Clearwater.

Missing and presume lost are Corey Smith, a 29-year-old free agent who played for the Wolfpack from 1999 to 2002; Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, 26; and former South Florida player William Bleakley, 25.

Schuyler told rescuers that the boat the four friends were aboard was anchored when it flipped Saturday evening in rough seas, said Coast Guard Capt. Timothy M. Close.

Yesterday, after searching over three days and combing 24,000 miles of ocean, the Coast Guard stopped called off search and rescue efforts.

Smith, who drew accolades from various folks involved with the N.C. State program, was overlooked in the NFL draft. That didn’t stop the free agent from playing seven seasons with three teams, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Smith, a Richmond, VA, native, had 30 tackles, including three sacks, and an interception last season for the winless Detroit Lions.

(AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, HO and AP Photo by Duane Burleson)

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