Search for Smith to be called off
The Coast Guard announced late this afternoon that it will suspend its search for free-agent Lions defensive end Corey Smith and three others at sundown today.
Smith, Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper and former South Florida football players Nick Schuyler and William Bleakley were reported missing early Sunday after they failed to return from a Saturday fishing trip off Florida's gulf coast. Schuyler was found sitting atop Cooper's capsized 21-foot boat around noon Monday. Local emergency-room doctors said, after more than 48 hours in the water, it's unlikely the other three survived.
The Lions released this statement Tuesday:
"Today's news is a sobering reminder about how truly precious and fragile life can be. We will continue to pray for a miracle, though we fully understand and respect the decision of the Coast Guard.
"We were thrilled yesterday with the news of Nick's rescue, and it gave all of us hope that Corey, Will and Marquis would also be found alive. While we still have that hope, we have begun to cope with the grim reality of this sad and tragic situation.
"We cannot adequately express our heartfelt appreciation to the Coast Guard and all the Florida authorities involved in the rescue mission. Their heroic efforts saved at least one life, and we know they did everything possible for Corey, Will and Marquis.
"We also want to thank everyone across the country for their expressions of support. We ask that you join us as we continue to pray for Corey, Will, Marquis and their families."