FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Cowboys Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Markus Paul died Wednesday evening a day after he experienced a medical emergency at the team’s headquarters in Frisco, the organization announced. He was 54 years old.
The incident occurred on Tuesday shortly before 7:30 a.m. Paul was immediately treated by Cowboys medical personnel and transported to Plano Presbyterian Hospital by ambulance.
Paul was surrounded by his family when he passed away at the hospital. His cause of death is pending.
The organization issued a statement that read in part:
“The organization extends its prayers and support to the Paul family, and the team will recognize and remember Markus, a valued and loved member of the Cowboys Family, prior to the Thanksgiving Day game tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued the following statement:
“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family. 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.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy issued the following statement:
“We extend our love, strength and support to Markus’ family during this most challenging of times and ask that their privacy be respected moving forward. Markus Paul was a leader in this building. He earned the players respect and attention because he cared so much and was a naturally gifted communicator—both on the personal and professional levels. He handled every situation, sometimes with a smile and a pat on the back, and sometimes with tough love. 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. It was a privilege to work with him as a coach and laugh with him as a friend. Markus did everything the right way.”
The Cowboys canceled practice after Paul was transported to the hospital. McCarthy’s daily meeting with reporters was canceled, as were interviews with players.
Paul was a former NFL safety who played for the Chicago Bears (1989-93) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993).
He played in 71 games with 17 starts over those five seasons. He was a fourth-round draft pick out of Syracuse, where he was an AP All-American as a senior in 1988.
Paul was in his third season with the Cowboys staff, after previously being a strength and conditioning coach with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, New York Jets and 12 seasons with the New York Giants.
He has been part of five Super Bowl championships, three with the Patriots and two with the Giants.
McCarthy told players at their scheduled 8 a.m. team meeting that practice had been canceled. That was about a half-hour after Paul's medical emergency.
Dallas is scheduled to play Washington on Thanksgiving. Washington head coach Ron Rivera and Paul were teammates with the Bears from 1989-92, before the end of Rivera’s playing career.