Cowboys cancel practice over medical issue involving staff

22 November 2020: Markus Paul of the Dallas Cowboys during their 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys
22 November 2020: Markus Paul of the Dallas Cowboys during their 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys (©2020 James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys)

FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys canceled practice Tuesday after a non-coronavirus medical emergency involving their strength and conditioning coordinator.

The Cowboys said Markus Paul “experienced a medical emergency” Tuesday morning at the facility, where he was immediately treated by team medical personnel before being transported by ambulance to a hospital.

An update from the team later Tuesday said that “per the Paul family, Markus is in the process of undergoing further medical tests.” The Cowboys said additional information would be made available at the “appropriate time.”

Coach Mike McCarthy's daily meeting with reporters was canceled, as were interviews with players.

The 54-year-old is a former NFL safety who played for the Chicago Bears (1989-93) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993). He played in 71 games with 17 starts over those five seasons. He was a fourth-round draft pick out of Syracuse, where he was an AP All-American as a senior in 1998.

Paul is in his third season with the Dallas Cowboys staff, after previously being a strength and conditioning coach with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, New York Jets and 12 seasons with the New York Giants. He has been part of five Super Bowl championships, three with the Patriots and two with the Giants.

McCarthy told players at their scheduled 8 a.m. team meeting that practice had been canceled. That was about a half-hour after Paul's medical emergency.

Dallas is scheduled to play Washington on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys are coming off a win at Minnesota that gave them a chance to play for first place in the NFC East despite a 3-7 record. Washington also is 3-7.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera and Paul were teammates with the Bears from 1989-92, before the end of Rivera's playing career.

“Our thoughts and prayers are out for Markus Paul and his family. ... We’re praying for him and a speedy recovery,” Rivera said. “Just a good teammate, just a good person. It was a little bit of a shocker to hear that.”

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