Dallas Cowboys strength coach Markus Paul has died. The team announced Tuesday it had canceled practice following a “non-COVID emergency.” Paul was 54.
Paul was rushed to the hospital for unspecified reasons. The cause of death is not known.
“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 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.”
Paul had been with the Cowboys as strength and conditioning coordinator since 2018. He previously worked in a similar capacity with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, New York Jets and New York Giants.
Paul played college football at Syracuse and was a fourth-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 1989.
“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,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday. “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 play Washington on Thursday.