Cowboys Strength & Conditioning Coach Markus Paul Dead at 54

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Markus Paul, the Dallas Cowboys’ head strength and conditioning coordinator and a revered coach around the NFL landscape, died on Wednesday, November 25, the team announced. He was 54.

“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement released to the media. The statement continued:

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.

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,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “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 handed 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.

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Paul suffered a non-COVID-related medical emergency at the Cowboys’ Frisco headquarters Tuesday and was rushed via ambulance to a local hospital. He died Wednesday evening, surrounded by family. The cause of death is pending, the team announced.

The Cowboys, who canceled Tuesday’s practice following the incident, plan to honor Paul during their Thanksgiving Day home game against Washington.

Reaction Pours In

A former NFL defensive back and longtime strength and conditioning coach, Paul received tributes from ex-teammates and employers, current players and media members — among many others — upon news of his death.

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Paul’s Professional Resume

After playing stints with the Chicago Bears (1989-1993) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993), Paul began his coaching career as a strength and conditioning assistant with the New Orleans Saints in 1998.

He bounced from the New England Patriots (2000-2004), New York Jets (2005-2006), and New York Giants (2007-2018) before landing the job with Dallas in 2018. He was promoted to the head position this year, replacing Mike Woicik.

“The Cowboys didn’t allow the media to have much access to the strength coaches especially under the stoic Mike Woicik. But we knew there was a change in humanity when Markus Paul showed up in 2018. Always a smile on his face and old school soul music blaring from weight room. RIP,” Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweeted Wednesday.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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