What started as a routine Tuesday morning devolved into anything but for the Dallas Cowboys. Enjoying a much-needed win after their 31-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, the team was all smiles, including an update radio address from owner Jerry Jones on Tuesday morning. Moments after Jones ended his interview, however, the team announced there would be no practice or media availability from anyone in the organization. This was due to what was initially described as a non-COVID related medical emergency with one of the team’s staffers.
Markus Paul, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, required an ambulance and medical attention was immediately dispatched to him in what became a very emotional scene for the Cowboys and their players. The team released the following statement:
“Shortly before 7:30 a.m. this morning, Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul experienced a medical emergency. 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. The Dallas Cowboys players and staff attended a pre-scheduled 8:05 a.m. meeting this morning and were told by head coach Mike McCarthy that today’s practice, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. [CST], 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.”
Paul joined the Cowboys as strength and conditioning coach in 2018 under Jason Garrett, and was retained by Mike McCarthy this season, despite a list of sweeping changes in other coaching areas. A former safety from Syracuse, he was selected in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, spending several seasons with them before finishing his career as a player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’d go on to have tremendous success as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the New England Patriots after a short stay with the New Orleans Saints, joining the Cowboys in 2018 with five Super Bowl rings on his resumé — after splitting time with the New York Jets and New York Giants.
Highly respected around the league and most certainly in the Cowboys locker room, it is with a heavy heart the team must now figure out how to mentally carry the what’s happening to Paul while trying to prepare for their second battle with the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving.