‘Stink’ sounds off on football, soaps

By Chris Rotar
Posted 9/5/08

Much like those mammoth defensive ends he once faced, interviews come with the territory for Mark Schlereth. And eight years removed from playing pro …

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‘Stink’ sounds off on football, soaps


Much like those mammoth defensive ends he once faced, interviews come with the territory for Mark Schlereth.

And eight years removed from playing pro football, the former Denver Broncos offensive lineman has a lot to talk about.

Consider some of what Schlereth — known as “Stink” to many — has going on his life:

The three-time Super Bowl champion is a respected NFL analyst for ESPN and a frequent guest on sports talk radio.

He’s made recurring appearances on the soap opera “Guiding Light” as “Roc Hoover.”

He’s created a pilot for a reality TV show centering around his family’s life. “We’ve put together something that I think is really special,” he said. That family includes an actress daughter and a pro baseball player son.

He maintains a fitness regimen that has the former 280-plus pounder looking lean — think linebacker, not lineman. He’s even written magazine articles about fitness.

And there’s that chili of his that can be found in local stores.

Indeed, the Lone Tree resident’s mainstream popularity is many times what it was when he was a Pro Bowl selection for the Broncos, 1998, and Redskins, 1991.

Recently, Schlereth, 42, took some time with Colorado Community Newspapers, in between bites of cereal and then on his way to pick up his youngest daughter from high school.

CCN: Better name: “Stink” or “Roc Hoover”?

Schlereth: I’m gonna go with “Stink,” because that name was given to me. I invented “Roc Hoover.” I made it up on the radio one day when I was put on the spot. I had already agreed to go on “Guiding Light.” [The guys on the radio] asked, “What are you going to call yourself?” The first name was easy. I liked the name “Roc” — it has some toughness to it. Why “Hoover” came out, I have no idea. “Guiding Light” [personnel] were listening and said that was what we were going to use.

“Stink” actually comes from rotten fish heads in Alaska. They cut off the heads and bury them for four or five weeks and then eat them. I was “Stinkhead,” then it got shortened.

CCN: Being originally from [Anchorage] Alaska, were you oblivious to the cold during those January playoff games in Washington, D.C., and Denver?

Schlereth: Cold is cold. You just have to deal with it. Growing up in Alaska doesn’t make me impervious to the cold. But I would much rather play a game in the cold than in the heat. When you play, you expend so much energy, you don’t think about how cold you are.

CCN: What is the best thing about the Denver Metro area?

Schlereth: I like the weather here, all the sunshine we get. My wife and I, all through the year, we walk our dogs every single day.

CCN: Who was the best player you blocked for not named Elway?

Schlereth: Terrell Davis. It was really unfortunate he blew out his knee and was never the same.

CCN: Why chili?

Schlereth: The story behind the [“Stinkin’ Good Green Chile] is that when I was playing with the Broncos, I was having knee issues. My partner [in the chili business, David Bloom] stopped by and asked if I needed help with doing yard work. He actually brought some of his green chili and asked if I wanted to try it. It was so good. I said, “You ought to bottle this stuff and sell it.” That was maybe 1999.

For the next eight years, every time he’d make a batch, he’d bring it over. Through some trial and error, we got the recipe together. It’s [Bloom’s] recipe. I’m just the guy that encouraged him.

CCN: You weren’t a high draft pick out of college [10th-round pick out of Idaho] and you endured numerous surgeries [29] during your football career. What was the key to overcoming these obstacles?

Schlereth: Eating a lot of green chile [with a laugh]. Since the time I was 12, all I wanted was to be a football player. When you have those aspirations, sometimes there are bumps in the road. I was willing to put up with that stuff.

I showed up at other [players’ pre-draft workouts] and begged teams to let me work out. I would show up and introduce myself and say, “Just give me an opportunity.” That’s how I ended up getting noticed.

I always played with a chip on my shoulder. I think that’s what motivates Tom Brady — he was a sixth-round pick. I think most guys that can overcome astronomical odds have a chip on their shoulder about something.

CCN: You’ve slimmed down a lot since your playing days. What are your workouts like now?

Schlereth: The key to that is not eating. It’s not rocket science. You’ve got to watch what you eat. I do a lot of cardio on an elliptical trainer.

To me, fitness is more of a lifestyle. I treat it like saving money. You’ve got to save off the top. I’ve got to get up and get something done. If I can get my exercise done in the morning, I’ll sacrifice an extra 45 minutes of sleep.


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