Raiders hold out hope for missing players

March 4, 2009 7:35:20 PM PST
The search has started again for Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper and two others missing after their boat capsized off the Florida coast. This time, private boats and planes are searching. Raiders Coach Tom Cable says he is hoping for a miracle.

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As family members of the missing men consoled each other, the Coast Guard towed the capsized 21-foot boat onto shore.

At the same time, private boats and planes began their own search off the Florida coast.

The Cooper's father said three pilots were hired at minimal cost.

"One pilot responded that due to economic times, he has to have something, so he said $50 an hour and gas," Bruce Cooper said.

The Coast Guard called off their search yesterday after they found 24-year-old Nick Schuyler. The former college football player was sitting on the hull of the capsized boat. He had been out there for about 40 hours.

Doctors say he was determined to stay alive.

"What went through his mind at the time was he didn't want his mother to go to a funeral," Dr. Mark Rumbak said.

Along with Cooper, who owned the boat, free agent defensive lineman Corey Smith, who once played for the 49ers and former South Florida player William Bleakley are still missing.

Cable told reporters today he still has hope they are alive.

"I'm one of those people who believes in miracles," Cable said. "They said they found a cooler; maybe there's another cooler that someone's hanging on to, who knows."

Cooper came to the Raiders as a free agent in the middle of last season.

Hall of Famer and Raiders assistant coach Willie Brown says Cooper had a bright future with the team.

"He received two game balls in the short time he was here so he was an impact player with us," Brown said.

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