Markus Paul, the Syracuse football star who later won two Super Bowls with the Giants as a strength and conditioning coach, died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack in the Dallas Cowboys practice facility a day earlier.
The 54-year-old collapsed in the practice facility early Tuesday morning, his sister Angie Taylor told Syracuse.com, and was taken to a local hospital where he was surrounded by family.
Dallas said in a statement that the cause of death was unknown.
“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family,” team owner Jerry Jones said. “He was a pleasant and calming influence in our strength room and throughout The Star.”
Paul was a star of Syracuse’s unbeaten 1987 team and a two-time All-American. His 19 career interceptions remain a school record.
He was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1989 draft and spent five seasons in Chicago before finishing his career after one season with the Buccaneers.
Paul became a strength and conditioning coach, winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots and two more with the Giants in 12 seasons with Big Blue.
“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,” the team said in a statement. “Markus was a beloved member of our organization for several years.”
Former Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham wrote in a tweet, “Man….. rest easy Coach Markus Paul…”
Other former players paid their respects to Paul a day earlier, when multiple media reports falsely indicated Paul had died.
“Markus was a great coach and one of the best guys that I have ever known,” Eli Manning said before deleting the tweet. “He will be missed.”
“My heart is heavy,” said former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes. “One of the finest men and coaches I have ever met. The world lost a GREAT MAN today. We love you! RIP Markus Paul.”
Paul also spent two seasons with the Jets, in addition to a stint with the Saints.
“He was a kind man who made a lasting impact on those fortunate to have crossed his path,” the Jets said in a statement.
Paul was in his third season with the Cowboys.