The grim details of a boating tragedy as told by Nick Schuyler

There really are no words to describe the feelings I had when watching Nick Schuyler detail the final moments he spent with his best friends after their boat capsized off the coast of Florida back in February. HBO Real Sports profiled Schuyler, the lone man to survive the tragedy that took the lives of three men.

Among the three who never returned from the trip was Marquis Cooper, a special teams contributor who was a mid-season signing of the Oakland Raiders in 2008. Cooper is being honored by the Raiders this year as each member of the Silver and Black proudly wears a #95 decal on their helmet in his memory.

Schuyler’s account of the last time he ever saw Cooper is haunting and saddening.

Throughout the piece, Schuyler discusses in detail the last time he saw Cooper, Corey Smith and his best friend Will Bleakley. He also describes his rescue and the guilt which he suffers each night, always pondering why he was the lone survivor.

Mistakes were made and perhaps this tragedy could have been avoided. During the night, the cold conditions and stormy weather took their toll on the men who fought bravely to survive. By the time morning came, only Schuyler and Bleakley were still clinging to the capsized vessel. Eventually it would be Schuyler alone who would remain atop the boat.

Today, Schuyler lives with a heavy heart. On occasion he will baby sit Cooper’s young daughter, helping to console a family that is now fatherless.

Schuyler’s survival in the Gulf of Mexico is truly amazing but he shuns being called a hero. He even goes as far to say, “If I’m a hero then I’d have one of them here with me now.”

Hopefully, none of us will ever have to live with the emotions that Schuyler deals with on a nightly basis. Truthfully, he has nothing to feel sorry for. He did all he could to help his friends and was forced to make some unbearably tough decisions.

Keep Schuyler and the families of the men who never returned home in your thoughts. Schuyler might not think he’s a hero but his bravery is the kind of stuff which heroes are made of. By surviving, he has become a living testament of the men who never made it back.

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Tags: Corey Smith Marquis Cooper Nick Schuyler Will Bleakley

  • raider41510

    did anyone listen to what bubba the love sponge said about these guys on his sirius radio show, makin fun of them make racial remarks about marquis cooper and his rolex, what an ass, why is it that people like that always shit on people, these guys have families and this was a terrible accident, i couldnt believe they have a guy like that on the radio…..

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  • CJ9788

    If what I heard is true the sad events were set in motion because of a $200.00 anchor which got stuck. From what Schyuller said on a previous outing an anchor was lost when they decided to cut it loose when it got stuck. On this fatal trip when the anchor got stuck the actions taken to save the anchor caused the boat to capsize. I have No idea how much money the the particular players made but it seems such a waste of life over a $200.00 anchor.

    There are stories of pro players tv stars ect who make millions of dollars and they do not leave tips at restaraunts, complain about having to pay for valet parking ect. I know there are two sides to every story but IMO there is a certian degree of truth. The bigger the star the cheaper they get. They have good reason with all the leechs who come out of the woodwork, but a little common sense is needed.

  • MaryGA

    I followed this when it happened. I am so sadden for the loss that the family and friends has gone through. I am also sadden for Nick and what he deals with daily. I have fished in the Gulf of Mexico and go every year, although this has had an affect on me that I could not go this year. It is so disturbing. I just can’t imagine what they are all going through. May God be with them and give them strength.