Nov 30, 2020
Dallas Cowboys Mourn Death of Strength Coach

Following the shocking death of Markus Paul a day before Thanksgiving, tributes have been pouring in for the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach.

Paul, 54, who died after experiencing a medical emergency unrelated to COVID-19 at the team’s headquarters, according to a report from CNN.

Photo: Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

During the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day loss to the Washington Professional Football Team, players wore a sticker with Paul’s initials on his helmet and joined hands and knelt in prayer before kickoff.

“Markus meant a lot to so many people and he made an impact on so many people,” Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton said after his team’s 41-16 loss.

“And I think for us, just having a chance to talk about it, remember him and just talk about ways that he has helped mentor us and just the way he was as a man, the way he lived his life, I think that’s what made him so special as a person,” Dalton continued. “And so you feel for the team, you feel for his family, you feel for everybody involved and our prayers are out for everybody, especially his family.”

All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliot noted Paul’s presence was missed during pregame warm-ups.

“We were lining up for practice, getting ready to stretch, and you get that reminder that he’s not here with us anymore,” Elliott said. “It definitely is tough, and we’ve just got to lean on each other and help each other get through this tough time.”

Paul joined the Cowboys staff in 2018 after spending 11 years in the same role for the NFC East rival New York Giants. Overall, Paul spent 21 seasons as a strength and conditioning coach. His other stops in the NFL, after graduating from Syracuse University, came in 1998-99 with New Orleans and 2000-04 with the Patriots.

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In total, he’s helped five Super Bowls between the Patriots and Giants during the 2000s and 2010s.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith said he “learned a lot from observing” Paul, while cornerback Jourdan Lewis called Paul a “great man” who “loved getting us better.”

Immediately after Paul suffered the medical emergency on Tuesday, he was treated by the Cowboys’ medical staff and taken to a hospital by ambulance. It was there, surrounded by family, that he died Wednesday evening, according to the team. The cause of death is pending.

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