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Mark Schlereth On The Shanahan Hire

Posted by Matt Terl on January 6, 2010 – 4:55 pm

When current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth wasn’t posing for slightly embarrassing Sports Illustrated photos with Alaskan icons, he was an offensive lineman, a member of the late-period Hogs on the Redskins team that won Super Bowl XXVI, and — later — a member of Mike Shanahan’s Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. So he’s pretty uniquely well-positioned to understand both Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins.

So it’s kind of exciting that he — like fellow ex-Bronco Bill Romanowski — has come down pretty enthusiastically in favor the Shanahan hiring.

Here are his comments from ESPN’s NFL Live today, transcribed courtesy of the nice folks at ESPN PR:

“Absolutely, I think it’s going to work. He’s a great football coach. Mike Shanahan’s a very intelligent guy. He will grind, he’s a great football coach, but he’s very smart and he understands why he’s no longer the head coach of the Denver Broncos. It’s because of the personnel decisions. He made personnel decisions both in the draft and also as far as free agency is concerned that didn’t work out. So he understands that aspect of it. Mike Shanahan, there’s no question in my mind — a Hall of Fame caliber coach, just not a Hall of Fame personnel guy. So I think he will defer in a lot of those scenarios to his general manager. They will work as a team. But make no bones about it, he can flat coach a football team. He knows this game inside and out.”

Like I said, that’s terrific stuff. But not nearly as terrific as the introduction to that 1992 SI profile of Schlereth, who apparently would’ve been blog gold if there had been blogs back in his day. Check this out:

This much of the story of Mark Schlereth, the only Alaskan-born player in NFL history, is undeniable: that Fritz Schlereth, his German-born grandfather, won fame in the fatherland as a cake decorator; that Herb Schlereth, Mark’s Manhattan-born father, made chump change in the Big Apple by carting cadavers out of gutters and dropping them off at the morgue; and that his Washington Redskin teammates call him Stinky, after stinkheads, a dubious Eskimo delicacy made from rotting fish noggins.

See? Blogging gold. Or how about this:

“Mark’s got all the attributes to be a Hog,” says [Joe] Jacoby, who has been one for the past 11 years. “He’s got the potbelly, the ugly puss, and he’s roly-poly.” The 6’3″, 285-pound Schlereth also has arms like legs, and legs like people.

The main difference between Schlereth and his pet pig, Wilbur, is that Schlereth won’t eat dog food. Schlereth prefers cheeseburgers-he has been a regular at a joint in Anchorage called the Arctic Roadrunner for 25 of his 26 years. In fact, his picture is enshrined on the Roadrunner’s Wall of Fame between Norma Jean, the first woman to solo Mount McKinley, and Bob Henderson, who once landed a 26-pound northern pike with a muskrat in its stomach. “Mark’s the only athlete we’ve honored,” says Dick Sanchez, the Roadrunner’s owner.

When a guy who’s enshrined on the Roadrunner’s Wall of Fame approves of your coaching hire, you know you’re doing something right. (And, in case you haven’t guessed, that SI article is pretty much a must-read.)

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