Well, it had to eventually end. The story that we here at the OSG and a good portion of the country has followed, that of the Football players and the capsized boat in the Gulf of Mexico has essentially come to an end. The family of NFL Player Marquis Cooper has asked the Coast Guard and others to curtail there search for the missing boaters. It's been almost a week now and the likelihood of them being found is almost infinitesimal.
((photo courtesy of: Adam Campbell/US Coast Guard))
After speaking privately with the lone survivor, Nick Schuyler, Cooper's family said they have decided to stop asking for volunteers to search the waters off Clearwater Pass for the remaining men. After the Coast Guard suspended their search Tuesday night, Bruce Cooper, Marquis's father, began soliciting for experienced pilots and boaters to continue searching the waters near where Cooper's boat was found, against the advice of the Coast Guard.
Volunteers that searched the area the last few days didn't turn up any new signs of Cooper, Detroit Lion Corey Smith, and former USF player Will Bleakley.Cooper, a former Buccaneer, played last year for the Oakland Raiders. Cooper's family said that have not planned a memorial service, saying it is too hard to do so. They are currently working on packing up Cooper's personal effects.
In a statement released Friday, Bruce Cooper said "One day the pain will be a little less burdensome. Right now, we just need time to be together and remember Marquis."
A memorial service for Bleakley is scheduled for Saturday at 3 pm at the Crystal River United Methodist Church. Meanwhile Schuyler continues to recover from hypothermia at Tampa General Hospital.
Read Bruce Cooper's Statement on the search for his son Marquis:
"Thursday at 5PM, we received new information on the events of last Saturday and decided to discontinue the search for Marquis.We want to thank everyone in Arizona, Tampa, and all over the United States for their thoughts, well-wishes, prayers and volunteer efforts on our behalf. We especially want to thank the members of the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife agency for their extraordinary and courageous efforts to rescue Marquis and his friends.We are beginning the process of healing. We are staying prayerful. One day the pain will be a little less burdensome. Right now, we just need time to be together and remember Marquis.Many of you have asked about a memorial or prayer service for Marquis. The family has decided to forgo any such service and asks instead that all of you memorialize Marquis in your hearts and thoughts. Marquis was a great father and husband and a great provider for his family. His daughter and wife Rebekah will be OK; they just need time to heal. Thank you."
Check out the latest from Tampa Bay.com and the St.Pete Times hereYahoo Sports is a little more to the point here
Also, our good friends at WFTS have some video for us from the last round of searching: