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Markus Paul passes at 54

Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul was hospitalized with a medical emergency before practice on Tuesday. Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss the latest.

Markus Paul, a former NFL defensive back and longtime strength and conditioning coach, has died. He was 54.

Paul, who joined the Cowboys in 2018, suffered a medical emergency at the team facility on Tuesday. The Cowboys canceled practice in response to the incident.

“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family,” owner/G.M. 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 our 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,” coach Mike McCarthy. “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.”

An unspeakable tragedy like this, a sudden and abrupt illness that claims a still-young a vibrant life, becomes even harder to comprehend when it occurs during a holiday week. We mourn with the Cowboys family for Markus Paul, and we extend our condolences to those he loved the most and who loved him the most, his family members.

Markus Paul devoted nearly all of his professional life to the NFL, as a player and then as a coach. From five years on the field to more than 20 helping those on the field be the best they can be, Markus Paul contributed much to the game, and he surely had much, much more that he wanted to contribute in the future. He will be missed, by his family, by his friends, by his colleagues, by the players, and by the game that he loved.