ARLINGTON, TX – Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy didn’t know Markus Paul for long, but he quickly learned that Paul’s influence goes beyond the strength and conditioning coordinator.
Paul died Wednesday night after being transported to a local hospital on Tuesday after suffering from a hospital in his barbell office called a state of emergency by the team. Less than 24 hours after Paul’s death, the Cowboys had to play for the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium and suffered their second worst defeat of the season in the 41-16 season.
“Markus was a special man,” McCarthy said. “He was specifically someone, when I think about it, he’s obviously had a lot of success in his professional life; but if you’re really looking at a man’s mark, it’s more important than success. In our football team, it’s actually made all over the organization. I worked with Markus, but it has become clear in the last 48 hours, 72 hours, what it means to everyone.
“The team meeting [Wednesday] the night was huge and we will obviously miss it. It’s unfortunate for his family, but we had a chance to celebrate him as a team last night and we will definitely continue to do so. His memory and influence has touched many people and he will always live with us. “
Cayboys linebacker Jaylon Smith said Wednesday’s meeting at the Omni Hotel in Texas, Texas, was emotional and festive and helped players rework their emotions.
“Just to get the opportunity to celebrate his life, his impact, all that he has instilled in each individual and that he has touched,” Smith said. “Five-time Super Bowl champion, successful player, coach and strength coach. He’s just a great mentor and a slave leader. I learned a lot from him during his time here, and a lot of people were able to share his stories of how he touched the individual.”
The players wore stickers with MP letters on their helmets. The coaches had a sticker on their cap or shirt. After the prelude was warmed up, the players, coaches, and staff prayed to their knees to remember Paul before heading to the locker room. For a moment before the game began, there was silence and remembrance for Paul.
Paul, who joined the Cowboys in 2018, has been an NFL assistant since 1998, starting with the New Orleans Saints and winning five Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. He was also two years old with the New York Jets in 2005 and 2006 before spending 11 seasons with the Giants.
Between 1989 and 1993, he was safe for the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting in 15 of 71 matches after his American career in Syracuse. In addition to the Bears, Paul’s teammate was Ron Rivera, Washington’s head coach.
Dallas-wide Amari Cooper called Tuesday a “surreal day.” When he arrived at The Star team facility, he headed for the barbell to buy cherries and beet juice when he saw the players standing there.
“It just didn’t look like every other day,” he said. “They were all just standing there, with a certain expression on my face. I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ “And then someone told me.”
Tuesday’s practice was canceled after Paulo was transported to the hospital after being treated by Cowboys medical staff. On Wednesday, the Cowboys underwent a 75-minute training session, but their loss was felt almost immediately.
“He was one of the leading stages every day, so we get up for practice to prepare for the stretch, and he gets this reminder that he’s not here with us anymore,” Dallas runner Ezekiel Elliott said. “It was definitely difficult. We just had to rely on each other and help each other get through this difficult time.”
McCarthy and the players did not use Paul’s loss as an excuse for their defeat on Thursday.
“Lots of heavy hearts,” McCarthy said. “But I can’t say enough about our football team, our players, how they came out and started the game. We had a lot of disadvantages during the game and we just didn’t get to where we wanted to start in the second half. That’s when you learn a lot about people. No I can tell you how proud I am of our football team. A week has passed, I don’t think any of us will forget. “