Before the Giants lifted their last two Lombardi Trophies, they were lifting weights with Markus Paul. He was the respected and beloved assistant strength and conditioning coach for the team from 2007-2017, helping to oversee the physical development of the players but also offering guidance for life and always a kind word and a smile.
Paul, who worked for the Cowboys the past two and a half years, died on Wednesday surrounded by his family after he suffered a medical emergency at the team’s facility on Tuesday morning, the Cowboys announced. He was 54.
The team said the cause of death was pending.
"This is a guy who is very well-respected through the league, very well-respected in this building," Giants head coach Joe Judge said on Thursday, hours before Paul died. "There are a lot of people with very close personal ties. Just his reputation through the league, you don’t want to see this happen to anybody . . . Our thoughts and prayers go out to Markus and his family."
The Giants issued a statement after the Cowboys announced Paul’s death.
"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," it said. "Markus was a beloved member of our organization. Our prayers of comfort and peace are with his family, the Dallas Cowboys and his many friends across the NFL and beyond. He will be greatly missed."
Former Giants players began posting remembrances of Paul on social media Tuesday when word of his hospitalization came out.
Besides the Giants and Cowboys, Paul also worked for the Saints, Patriots (where he won three other Super Bowl rings) and Jets.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Markus Paul, who spent two years with us in 2005-06," the Jets said in a statement. "He was a kind man who made a lasting impact on those fortunate to have crossed his path."
A former NFL safety, Paul played for the Bears (1989-93) and Buccaneers (1993). He was a fourth-round draft pick out of Syracuse, where he was an AP All-American as a senior in 1998.