3:04am UK, Tuesday March 03, 2009

The US coastguard is searching for two American football players reported missing after a fishing trip in rough seas.

Marquis Cooper (left) and Corey Smith

Marquis Cooper (left) and Corey Smith

NFL stars Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders’ Marquis Cooper were among four people on a boat that disappeared off Florida’s Gulf coast.

The other two were Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler, both former University of South Florida players.

Schuyler was later found clinging to the boat wearing a life jacket.

He was taken to hospital and is dehydrated and in a stable but serious condition, according to his family.

He told rescuers the boat flipped over in rough seas and the others, who remain missing, were separated from the vessel.

During the search of a 750-square-mile area, there have been wind gusts of about 45mph and waves reaching up to 10ft high.

The players’ vessel left Clearwater at about 6:30am local time on Saturday and was due to return later in the day, but did not come back.

The boat was then reported missing at about 1:30am on Sunday.

Defensive end Smith, 29, appeared in 12 games with the Detroit Lions in the past season, his seventh in the NFL.

Linebacker Cooper, 26, played in eight games with the Oakland Raiders last year.

The two were teammates with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2004 season.

Former Buccaneers linebacker Ryan Nece said both players are “good guys” and responsible individuals.

He said: “As soon as I heard the news, I felt it like they were people in my own family. Those are two guys I really respect and two guys who are just blue collar good guys.

“They work hard. They are family guys. They are simple guys who just like to go out on a boat and just hang out and relax. They are not flashy.

“They are the opposite of what a football player’s image is portrayed to society. I’m just praying for them and everybody is praying that it turns out a different way,” he told the Tampa Tribune.

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS GO OUT TO THE FRIENDS AND FAMILIES OF THESE INDIVIDUALS. I TRULY HOPE EVERYTHING TURNS OUT POSITIVE FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS. IM SURE THEY DIDN’T EXPECT TO BE MISSING AND I WISH THEM WELL. SINCERELY.

ANONYMOUZ

ARTICLE UPDATE FROM SKY.NEWS.COM….