The Detroit Lions are paying their respects to a football player still lost at sea.
Lions’ Player Development Director Galen Duncan announced that Corey Smith’s number, 93, will be retired for one year, ESPN reports.
Corey(left) is one of three men still lost in the Gulf of Mexico. He and Marquis Cooper of the Oakland Raiders (right) went missing when Marquis’ boat capsized in rough waters late last month. Former University of South Florida football players William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler were also on board at the time.
Nick was found clinging to the boat two days after it flipped over.
During a memorial service on Saturday, Galen recalled the kind of grit and determination that Corey would often exhibit on the field.
"I’d tell the coaches, ‘You’ve got to watch Corey because he’s not going to tell you he’s hurt,’" He said before hundreds of mourners in Richmond, Virgina. "If you could see the way this man worked."
Corey’s former teammates from the Lions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the San Francisco 49ers, and John Marshall High School were all on hand.
His high school coach attested to what an outstanding man Corey was off the field.
"You’re not supposed to have a favorite player when you are a coach, but he was the one who got under your skin," said Kevin Burden, Corey’s high school football coach. "He was a great football player but he was an even better man."
– Sonya Eskridge