Cable remains optimistic Cooper will be found

Even though the Coast Guard has called off the search for missing Raiders linebacker coach Marquis Cooper, Cooper's family isn't giving up hope that he'll be found. Oakland head coach Tom Cable isn't, either.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday for the first time since Cooper and two other men came up missing following a fishing expedition off the Florida Coast over the weekend, Cable talked optimistically about the possibility of Cooper being rescued.

"In our opinion they're still fighting , still battling, they're still doing everything they can to survive," Cable said. "That's the way my approach has been through this whole thing. It's a very difficult time, obviously. You never expect anything like this to happen but it has and we're dealing with it."

The Raiders called the press conference with Cable after issuing statements regarding the situation earlier in the week.

Cooper, Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith and former Southern Florida player William Bleakley are all still missing after the 21-foot boat they were using capsized in rough waters some time Saturday. A fourth man, Nick Schuyler, was discovered clinging to the boat after 46 hours in the water.

The Coast Guard conducted an extensive search and ramped up their efforts after Schuyler was rescued but found no trace of the other three and eventually called off the search.

Cooper's father, in a televised interview, said he refused to give up hope that his son will be found and Cable echoed those same thoughts on Wednesday.

"I heard a statement yesterday that if there was something there, we would have found it," Cable said. "And yet, there were miracles and I'm one of those people who believes in miracles. So some way, some how, they said they found a cooler. Maybe there was another cooler there that one of them is holding on to. Who knows?"

Cable lauded Cooper for his work on special teams with the Raiders after joining the team mid-season but said the veteran linebacker's presence in the team's locker room had an even bigger impact.

"The thing that probably jumped out at all of us, not just the coaching staff, but his teammates as well, was the character of this man, what he brought to that locker room," Cable said. "We went through some tough times in terms of changing an attitude and all that, and a guy like Marquis was instrumental in having some of the success at the end of the year and really kind of getting the mindset of this football team in the right direction.

"What I mean by that is you're talking about a guy that every Saturday night when I'd go to chapel there he was. There's a guy in the locker room that's smiling every day. He comes to work everyday. He enjoys the process, he enjoys the grind. He is there supporting his teammates. Wasn't playing on defense for us but on special teams became a huge part of what we were doing and in that light became a leader, became someone I think people drew to. And when you watch him walk in the building, in the locker room or go out to the field, he had that glow about him. ‘This is hard work, it's not always fun, but I love what I'm doing.' That attitude and that honorable approach if you will, to what this game is certainly rubbed off on everybody."

Cable first found out that Cooper was missing on Sunday morning. He spoke with Cooper's wife on the telephone and has continued to stay in touch with Cooper's family, who have vowed to conduct their own search.

"My first thought was if I was in the same boat I'd probably do the same thing," Cable said. "If that was my son I'd probably do the same thing. The second thing in my mind was I just hope and pray the right precautions will be taken and the right thought process will go for whoever is going to go back out there."

Oakland's coaching staff recently returned from the NFL Scouting Combine and is busy preparing for the draft while also trying to work its way through free agency but Cable acknowledged it's difficult to keep focus while Cooper and the two other men are missing.

"You do your job and go after it like you would anyways," Cable said. "You probably don't do it with the right focus because this is real life, this is real people involved. There's a 3-year-old daughter involved, there's a wonderful young lady, a wife involved, a mother and a father, so at the end of the day those things still matter most and yet at 3 o'clock you have this appointment, at 11 you have this one, gotta make this call, you do those things. You just do them with a heavy heart. When you wake up and before you go to bed you say your prayers and you're hopeful someone will look after this.

"A glass is half full to me so until they find you know a body to me I'll just keep hoping, that's the way I am. I'll just keep believing that there's some islands and things out and around there and you never know. People drift up on things. A log floats by and they happen to grab onto it and just let it take them where it goes and they'll find them so that's what I think."


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