Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and wide receiver Amari Cooper emotionally reflected on the death of Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul after their Thanksgiving game. On Tuesday, Paul was rushed to the hospital after a medical emergency in his weight room office and unfortunately a day later the Cowboys announced he had passed away.
A day after the death of Paul, the Cowboys suffered a disappointing 41-16 loss to the Washington Football Team on their home field. "Every day, he was the one leading stretch, so we're lining up for practice to get ready to stretch and you get that reminder that he's not here with us anymore," Elliott said, per ESPN.
"It definitely was tough. We just got to lean on each other and help each other get through this tough time." Pro Bowl linebacker Smith was grateful to Paul for what he taught him. "Just to get the opportunity to celebrate his life, his impact, everything he instilled in each individual that he touched," Smith said.
"Five-time Super Bowl champ, successful player, coach and strength coach. Just a great mentor and a servant leader. I learned a lot from him in his time here, and a lot of people got to share their stories on how he touched the individual."
Meanwhile, Cooper detailed how he got the unfortunate news: "It just didn't look like what every other day looks like. They were all just standing there with certain looks on their faces. I was like, 'What's going on?' And then someone told me."
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy speaks highly of late Paul
"Markus was a special man," McCarthy said. "He was definitely someone, when I think of him, obviously had a lot of success in his professional life; but if you really look at the mark of a man, it's more about significance than success.
I can't tell you the impact he's made on our football team, really the whole organization. I obviously only worked with Markus since January, but it was clearly evident through these last 48 hours, 72 hours, what he means to everybody.
"The team meeting [Wednesday] night was powerful, and obviously we're going to miss him. It's unfortunate for his family, but we had the opportunity to celebrate him last night as a team, and we'll definitely continue to do that. His memory and impact has touched a lot of people and will always live with us."