The Washington Redskins drafted Mark Schlereth out of Idaho in the tenth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. That humble beginning didn’t exactly portend the excellence that Schlereth would achieve in professional football.
Schlereth came to Washington just as the Redskins were beginning to put the pieces in place for another run at a Super Bowl. With Schlereth starting six games as a rookie, the Redskins managed a 10-6 record but did not make the playoffs. In 1990, Schlereth was a part-time starter as Washington went 10-6 again, but did qualify for postseason play (where the Redskins beat the Eagles before losing to the 49ers).
Schlereth’s breakthrough year was 1991. He not only cemented his status as the unquestioned starting right guard, but he made the Pro Bowl. The Redskins, of course, dominated the NFL that season, and Schlereth collected his first Super Bowl ring as Washington topped the Bills to win the world title.
Schlereth continued to play well for the Redskins, but injuries began to pile up. After starting every game in 1991 and 1992, Schlereth only managed to start 14 in 1993 and 1994 combined.
Schlereth signed as a free agent with Denver prior to the 1995 season. Impressively, Schlereth overcame his mounting injuries to help Denver to back-to-back Super Bowl wins, even making it back to the Pro Bowl in 1998. The slimmed-down Schlereth was perfect for the Broncos’ smaller, quicker line, and his play was an important part of Denver’s title runs in the late 1990s.
Eventually, the twenty knee surgeries Schlereth had endured took their toll. “Stink” retired in April of 2001. He went on to be named to the Denver Broncos’ 50th Anniversary Team. Since retiring, Schlereth has been a successful broadcaster, first with ESPN for 16 years, and currently with FS1.
Of course, none of that Broncos or media stuff counts for our purposes. Even when considering his Redskins career alone, Schlereth tops the “approximate value” list for Redskins who wore #69 at Pro Football Reference. The only player near him are Perry Brooks, the father of Ahmad Brooks and a defensive lineman from the early 80s who gave way to Darryl Grant, and R. C. Thielemann, a former All-Pro guard with the Falcons who served the Redskins well for a few years at the end of his career.
Schlereth stands above them in my view. He’s the pick for all-time #69 in Redskins history.
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Who is the greatest #69 in Redskins history?
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R. C. Thielemann
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