Dallas Cowboys strength coach Markus Paul dies, team says

Markus Paul, the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach, died Wednesday, the team announced. He was 54.

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Paul died Wednesday “after a lengthy series of further medical tests,” the Cowboys said in a statement, adding that he was surrounded by his family. The cause of death has not been released, KTVT reported.

The Cowboys canceled practice on Tuesday after Paul suffered a “medical emergency” that was non-COVID-19 related. Paul was stricken at about 7:30 a.m. at The Star, the team’s training facility and was rushed to an area hospital, where he was placed on life support, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said in a written statement that Paul “did everything the right way.”

“He handled every situation, sometimes with a smile and a pat on the back, and sometimes with tough love,” McCarthy said. “He had innate toughness in a job that requires that quality, and he was admired throughout the NFL by his peers and the players he coached.”

“The loss of a family member is a tragedy and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement. “He was a pleasant and calming influence in our strength room and throughout The Star. “His passion for his work and his enthusiasm for life earned him great respect and admiration from all of our players and the entire organization. We offer our love and support to his family in this very difficult time. Our hearts are broken for his family and all of the individuals whose lives he touched and made better.”

Jones told WFAA earlier Wednesday that Paul is “one of the most beloved people we have with the Dallas Cowboys.”

Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ director of public relations and communications, told KTVT on Tuesday that Paul was taken by ambulance to the hospital after being treated at camp by medical personnel.

Paul was a former NFL defensive back who played for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1989 to 1993. He joined the Cowboys in 2018 after 12 years as a strength assistant for the New York Giants, the Morning News reported. He was named the strength and conditioning coordinator when McCarthy became the team’s head coach, according to ESPN. Before that, he worked for the New Orleans Saints from 1998 to 1999, the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2004 and the New York Jets from 2005 to 2006, according to the Morning News.

Paul won three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots and two with the Giants. In college, Paul was a two-time All-America selection at safety for Syracuse University. He was chosen in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL draft by the Bears and started 30 games in five NFL seasons.

Dallas (3-7) will host the Washington Football Team (3-7) for the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday. The Cowboys will recognize and remember Paul before the game, ESPN reported.

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