Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul dies at 54

Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul, a five-season NFL veteran who went on to work for multiple teams as a strength coach for more than two decades, died at the age of 54 on Wednesday, the Cowboys announced.

Paul's cause of death is pending, per the statement.

Paul experienced a medical emergency at the team's headquarters on Tuesday and was subsequently transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he passed away.

"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 afternoon," the statement read.

NFL Network's Jane Slater reported Thursday that the Cowboys will hold a moment of silence and air a video tribute for Paul ahead of their game against the Washington Football Team.

Paul joined the Cowboys organization in February, 2018 and previously spent 11 years with the New York Giants. He also worked for the New Orleans Saints (1998-1999), New England Patriots (2000-2004) and New York Jets (2005-2006).

"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 the team 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 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."

Following Paul's medical emergency, Dallas players and staff attended a pre-scheduled Tuesday morning meeting in which coach Mike McCarthy informed the team that Tuesday's practice would be canceled.

McCarthy also released a statement Wednesday.

"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," 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 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."

Selected in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Paul played parts of five seasons with the Bears before ending his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Roughly five years later he joined the Saints and began a 23-year coaching career that included a combined five Super Bowl titles during time with the Giants and Patriots.

"All of us with the Giants, the Mara and Tisch families and the entire organization, extend our deepest condolences on the passing of Markus Paul. Markus was a beloved member of our organization for several years," the Giants said in a statement. "Our prayers of comfort and peace are with his family, the Dallas Cowboys and his many friends across the NFL and beyond. He will be greatly missed."

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