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Markus Paul, who played defensive back for Syracuse from 1984 to 1988, died from a heart attack Wednesday evening. He was 54.
Paul was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday morning for a medical emergency and was pronounced brain dead later that day.
The All-American safety starred on Syracuse’s undefeated 1987 team and holds Syracuse’s program record, with 19 career interceptions. The Chicago Bears drafted Paul in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft, and he played five seasons with the team. As a strength and conditioning coach later in his career, Paul won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and two with the New York Giants.
Paul most recently coached the Dallas Cowboys, where he was promoted to head strength and conditioning coach in January.
An outpouring of love and support on social media from the Syracuse community, as well as from various NFL teams Paul coached and played for, followed news of his death. Bill Belichick and Ron Rivera both opened press conferences Wednesday by sending thoughts to Paul’s family.
“Our hearts are broken for his family and all of the individuals whose lives he touched and made better,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.
Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul, 54, died this evening.
Jerry Jones: “Our hearts are broken.” pic.twitter.com/Sh54QjDOqb
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 25, 2020
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Randy Edsall, who coached Paul and the defensive backs at Syracuse, told Syracuse.com that Paul should be remembered as one of the best DBs in program history. Paul was a two-time finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s best defensive back, and was also named to Syracuse’s All-Century team in 1999.
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