Horrible news being reported — Former NC State defensive end and current Detroit Lion, Corey Smith, appears to be one of the NFL players aboard a fishing boat that is missing in the ocean.
Link to Tampa article just updated in the last 10 minutes.
The Coast Guard is searching for at least two professional football players and two other people who left Clearwater Pass about 6:30 a.m. Saturday in a 21-foot, center-console boat and are believed missing.
The Coast Guard identified three of the missing boaters as Victor “Marquis” Cooper, Nick Skyler and Corey Smith.
The Coast Guard was alerted about 1:30 a.m. today when the boat did not return as expected. The search started about 2 a.m., centered about 50 miles from Clearwater Pass. The search area covers about 750 square miles.
The search involves a 47-foot boat, a helicopter, airplane and cutter, the Coast Guard said.
The Oakland Raiders team Web site lists a Victor “Marquis” Cooper as a linebacker in the 2008 season who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and 2005.
The Detroit Lions team site lists a Corey Smith as a defensive end who played for the Bucs from 2002 to 2004.
The searchers are encountering winds of about 45 mph and waves ranging from 6 to 10 feet high with white caps.
The boaters left while weather conditions were forecast to grow worse by Saturday night.
At 4:30 a.m., the National Weather Service marine forecast said a small craft advisory, meaning winds were expected to top 20 mph, would likely be issued Saturday night.
At 3:30 p.m. Saturday the weather service also warned of high winds and rough seas.
Smith has a unique claim within Wolfpack history – he has played for three different NC State head coaches. As a slightly undersized defensive end Smith was recruited from Richmond, VA to NC State to play for Mike O’Cain. After playing three years for Chuck Amato Smith began his NFL career playing on Monte Kiffin‘s defense with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 2008 season was Smith’s most successful in the league as he tallied 30 tackles and 3 sacks and created two turnovers. It is very hard to imagine that Smith has just finished his 7th season in the NFL. Time flies.
At the moment there is no word from NC State as GoPack.com has not mentioned the news.
Our prayers are with Smith’s family and friends.