The search continues today for three football players who were still lost at sea, even as family members realize there is not much hope of finding them alive.

It's been nearly three full days since the fishing boat carrying Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith, William Bleakley, and Nick Schuyler capsized in the Gulf of Mexico. All four were initially able to put on life vests and stay close together, but when the boat was finally spotted yesterday afternoon, only Schuyler was found, clinging to the overturned outboard engine.

Cooper's father, Bruce, spoke to reporters today, saying that his son loved deep sea fishing and would spend long 14-hour days on the ocean, well out of sight of the coast. However, the elder Cooper also admitted that the Coast Guard is no longer optimistic that they will find his son alive. Sal Paolantonio reports that Bleakley's family has already begun making funeral arrangements. The search is still ongoing at the moment, but officials have narrowed the range and scope considerably and there's a chance that if the men aren't found before sundown, the effort will be called off.

Father: Coast Guard losing hope of finding players [AP]
In search for Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith, hypothermia becomes concern [ESPN]
Search For Missing Boaters Yields False Alarm [Tampa Bay Online]
Rescue crews join search for missing NFL players, boaters [Air Force Link]


Update: The Coast Guard has said that they will indeed suspend the search tonight. [Orlando Sentinel]