Mark Schlereth Went From NFL Lineman to Acting in a Soap Opera

During his career in the National Football League, Mark Schlereth did not have a glamorous role. He played on some of the greatest offensive lines of all time with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. Though he was used to not making headlines as an unheralded lineman, he’s gotten several opportunities to shine following his NFL career. 

Schlereth has a sizable presence in sports media now that he’s retired from the gridiron. He also had an unlikely TV gig — guest-starring in a soap opera. Let’s take a closer look at Schlereth’s inexplicable career move. 

Mark Schlereth looking on during a Broncos game
Mark Schlereth | Brian Bahr/Allsport/GettyImages

Mark Schlereth’s NFL career overview

According to Pro Football Reference, Washington selected Schlereth with a 10th round pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. Schlereth immediately fit in with their effective offensive line, affectionately known as the “Hogs.” He’d make the Pro Bowl in 1991. He helped them win a Super Bowl over the Buffalo Bills. 

Schlereth’s days winning championships were far from over, however. In 1995, he signed with the Denver Broncos. There, he was part of the offensive line that enabled Terrell Davis to establish a Hall of Fame career (and rush for 2,000 yards in a season). He helped Denver win Super Bowls over the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. 

Schlereth retired in 2000. During his career, he played both guard and center, showing his versatility. It would be that same versatility that allowed him to flourish in multiple media formats once his playing days were done. 

Mark Schlereth’s post-NFL media career

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Following his time in the NFL, Schlereth entered sports media and has become one of the most respected NFL analysts in the game. According to Fox Sports, he’s been with Fox since 2017.

Along with being a color commentator for the NFL on Fox, he also appears on a number of other Fox Sports programming including First Things First, Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, Speak for Yourself, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd

Prior to that, Schlereth spent 16 years with ESPN as an analyst for their network. He also made frequent appearances on shows like SportsCenter and Mike and Mike. 

NFL lineman to acting in a soap opera

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According to, Mark Schlereth was at ESPN one day when someone from the show Guiding Light reached out to him. Schlereth said in an interview with he didn’t even believe it at first: 

“I was sitting here at ESPN in the newsroom and [I get] this random email from the Guiding Light. So I open it up and I read it and I kind of laugh to myself because I thought I was getting Punk’d by one of the guys here. The email said something to the effect of ‘We really like you on camera here at the Guiding Light. We think you have a great presence. We think you have a look that would be appealing to soap opera fans. Would you be interested?'”

Thinking it must be a prank, Schlereth eventually accepted and guest-starred on the show. He said the experience was first-rate. The cast made it easy for him to perform, welcoming him with open arms: 

“The cast has been great. I’m telling you it’s so much like a family it’s unbelievable. Everybody was so kind and very very gracious and it was very much like a team. Very much like being in a locker room setting so to speak. They made me feel very comfortable…They’re a fun group of people.”

Schlereth took his role seriously, preparing for it as much as he did for any football game. While it seems unlikely, someone who was known for busting heads on the football field was also pretty good at playing pretend on a dramatic TV show.