Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Missing Players, Fellow Boater

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Coast Guard ended its search for three missing boaters in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Two NFL players, Raiders LB Marquis Cooper and Lions DE Corey Smith, were among the three missing men.

Coast Guard officials expressed a belief that no survivors would be found more than 2 1/2 days after search efforts began.

"We're extremely confident that if there are any survivors on the surface of the water that we would have found them," Coast Guard Captain Timothy Close said at a news conference.

The search effort was abandoned around 6:30 p.m. yesterday.

Cooper, Smith and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley remained missing after one of the boaters, Nick Schuyler, was rescued on Monday.

"I think they were not to be found," said Bleakley's father Robert, according to the Associated Press.

-- CARDINALS: QB Kurt Warner offered to re-sign for $23 million over two seasons, with $12 million guaranteed, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Arizona Republic.

The offer by Warner comes after he visited the 49ers. Bartelstein told the Republic that Warner is offering to re-sign for less money than he could get from the 49ers.

Bartelstein also said Warner is willing to take $1 million per season less from the Cardinals if the team re-signs WR Anquan Boldin to a new contract.

-- BENGALS: RB Cedric Benson re-signed with the team. The former first-round draft pick ran for 747 yards in a dozen games this past season for Cincinnati, reviving a career that had been sagging because of disappointing results and off-field legal troubles while with Chicago, his previous team.

-- JETS: According to several reports, S Jim Leonhard has agreed to a three-year contract, leaving the Ravens via free agency. Leonhard, despite a last-minute negotiating push by the Broncos, becomes the second Ravens defensive player to depart for the Jets as a free agent, after LB Bart Scott.

-- DOLPHINS: Free agent C Jake Grove signed, the team announced on its Web site. Grove had been with the Raiders. His contract with the Dolphins is worth $29.5 million over five years, according to the NFL Network, and includes $14 million guaranteed.

BEST READER COMMENT Matt Cassel now stands in the shadow of Scott Mitchell -- free agency winner/incumbent franchise savior. Lucky for Cassel he isn't headed to Detroit. DCScribe1 YOUR TURN Ever wanted to be in The Washington Post? Now you can. The League's team of experts will select the best comments to appear in the Sports section and online. Learn more at http://washingtonpost.com/theleague.


Mark Maske, NFL News Feed

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