Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Emotional times

When I sat down with Yale football coach Tom Williams in January, one of the questions I asked him was whether any of his former players were playing in the Super Bowl. The first name to come out of his mouth as a potential member of the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers was Marquis Cooper.

As a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since the mid-1980s when I lived in Florida, I only knew the name because I recall that he was a third round pick of the Bucs a few years back. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons I have found out so much about Marquis Cooper in the last few days. Cooper, who played for the Oakland Raiders after two stints with Pittsburgh in 2007, is one of three people and two NFL players still missing after Cooper's 21-foot boat capsized during a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.

I spoke to Williams this afternoon about Cooper who he coached for two years at the University of Washington and then was reunited with in 2007 when Cooper played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in between his tours of duty with Pittsburgh.

There will be a story in Wednesday's edition of the Register about Williams' recollection of Cooper whose attitude and infectious personality made him one of the favorite players Williams has coached.

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