How did Dallas Cowboys Coach Markus Paul die? Internet pays tribute to ‘giant of a giant’ after he dies aged 54

New York Jets tweeted: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Markus Paul, who spent two years with us in 2005-06’

                            How did Dallas Cowboys Coach Markus Paul die? Internet pays tribute to ‘giant of a giant’ after he dies aged 54
Markus Paul (Getty Images)

In tragic news, Markus Paul — Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach — died Wednesday night, November 25, 2020, at a Dallas-area hospital surrounded by his family, one day after he suffered a medical emergency. He was 54.

Paul had been with the Cowboys for the past three seasons having joined in February 2018 and previously spent 11 years with the New York Giants. He also worked for the New Orleans Saints (1998-1999) and New England Patriots (2000-2004). Earlier, his niece, Antoinette, asked for prayers, saying, “My uncle Markus is surrounded by lots of love! His wife has been by his side and his children were flown in last night. His father, siblings and nieces are also flying over to Dallas this morning. Keep praying and believing everyone. He is in the best of hands!”

In a statement, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: “The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family. 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.”

Paying tribute to the strength and conditioning coach across the league for 22 years, Cowboys 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 handled every situation, sometimes with a smile and a pat on the back, and sometimes with tough love.”

Markus Paul (Getty Images)


Who was Markus Paul?

Born on April 1, 1966, in Orlando, Florida, Markus Paul studied at Osceola High School in Kissimmee and was popular as an All-State quarterback and defensive back player. He then attended Syracuse University, where he played football from 1984 to 1988 and earned first-team All-American honors by The Sporting News. Did you know he set a school record with 19 career interceptions?

Back in 1989, the Chicago Bears selected Paul in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. In five seasons with the team, he started 30 games, 15 at each safety position and also played with Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final game of the 1993 season.

The former Syracuse standout rejoined his strength and conditioning coach at Syracuse, Mike Woicik in 1998 and served as New Orleans Saints' assistant strength and conditioning coach. In 2000, he followed Woicik to the Patriots, again serving as the assistant strength and conditioning coach under Bill Belichick. With his able guidance, he helped lead teams to five Super Bowl wins, including Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII, and Super Bowl XXXIX with the Patriots.

Following the 2004 season, he left the team for the New York Jets and spent one year under Herman Edwards as the Jets' director of physical development, then a year under Eric Mangini as the team's strength and conditioning coach. Interestingly, Mangini fired Paul after the 2006 season and he was hired by the New York Giants as their assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Markus Paul (Getty Images)


What was the cause of death?

Paul collapsed at the Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco and was rushed to a local hospital after team personnel and paramedics attended to him. At the time, the Cowboys said he was undergoing further medical tests and “additional information will be made available at the appropriate time.” 

Details about the medical emergency are still unclear but practice and media availability for the day was abruptly canceled after the devastating incident. After per NFL, Cowboys players and staff attended a pre-scheduled meeting November 24 morning during which head coach Mike McCarthy informed them that the morning's practice would be canceled. “The organization extends its prayers and support to the Paul family, and asks for friends and followers of Markus, his family and the team to keep them in their thoughts and prayers,” the team said in a statement at that time.

McCarthy added, “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.”

New York Jets tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Markus Paul, who spent two years with us in 2005-06. He was a kind man who made a lasting impact on those fortunate to have crossed his path.” New York Giants extended deepest condolences saying, “Markus was a beloved member of our organization for several years. 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.” One fan said, “So very sad. I pray for him and his family. Once a Giant of a Giant!”