Markus Paul, Cowboys Strength Coach, Former Syracuse DB, Dead At 54

By Jason Hall

November 24, 2020

UPDATE:

Former Syracuse standout and Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul has reportedly died one day after suddenly being hospitalized.

The Cowboys confirmed Paul's death in statements from owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy shared on the team's official website Wednesday:

"The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family," Jones said. "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 earn 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."
"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," said McCarthy, who promoted Paul to strength and conditioning coordinator in January. "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 team corrected an initial report that Paul had died Tuesday morning in a statement obtained by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that said the coach was undergoing further testing at a local hospital.

Paul, a former Syracuse standout defensive back, was initially reported to have passed by Sports Illustrated suddenly on Tuesday, according to reports from multiple former teammates and players. The Cowboys cancelled practice on Tuesday morning due to a medical emergency and released additional details about the cancellation in the statement released Tuesday afternoon.

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The Dallas Cowboys have corrected a report that strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul had died Tuesday morning. The team confirmed in a statement obtained by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that Markus is alive, but undergoing further testing at a local hospital.

"Shortly before 7:30 a.m. this morning, Dallas Cowboys Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Markus Paul experienced a medical emergency," the statement read. "Paul was immediately treated by Cowboys medical personnel and transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

"As per the Paul family, Markus is in the process of undergoing further medical tests and additional information will be made available at the appropriate time."

Paul, a former Syracuse standout defensive back, was initially reported to have passed by Sports Illustrated suddenly on Tuesday, according to reports from multiple former teammates and players. The Cowboys cancelled practice on Tuesday morning due to a medical emergency and released additional details about the cancellation in the statement released Tuesday afternoon.

"The Dallas Cowboys players and staff attended a pre-scheduled 8:05 a.m. team meeting this morning and were told by head coach Mike McCarthy that today's practice, scheduled for 11:30 a.m., would be cancelled."

On Tuesday morning, former offensive tackle David Diehl, who played for Paul during seven seasons of his 12-year tenure as the New York Giants' assistant strength and conditioning coach, tweeted the following: "'God Brings People Into Our Lives For A Reason, And Even If Only For A Short Time, Their Impact Lasts Forever Because It Helped To Shape Us Into Who We Are.' Rest In Peace Coach Paul (three praying hand emojis). You Will Be Missed."

Paul played defensive back at Syracuse from 1984-88, where he recorded a school record 19 interceptions during his collegiate career and was named an All-American during his senior season. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft, where he spent the majority of his professional playing career.

Paul recorded seven interceptions, including a career high three in 1991, during 71 total NFL games. He began his coaching career in 1998, working as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the New Orleans Saints.

Paul went on to hold similar roles with the New England Patriots (2000-04), New York Jets (2005-06) and New York Giants (2007-18) before being hired by the Cowboys in 2018 and replacing Mike Woicik as the head strength and conditioning coach in 2020.

Photo: Getty Images

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