Restaurant investments are a common post-career move for NFL players and coaches. Famed Green Bay Packers wide receiver Max McGee helped start the once-iconic Mexican restaurant chain Chi-Chi’s. And Richard Sherman is involved with Wingstop, a popular chicken franchise that seemingly goes out of its way to court athletes.
But eateries aren’t always the safest investments. Chi-Chi’s has long been closed, for example. That could explain why former Denver Broncos guard Mark Schlereth took a different tack on investing in food. You might even see the delicious results of his post-career work at a grocery store near you.
Mark Schlereth overcame injuries to make an incredible NFL career
Mark “Stink” Schlereth’s 12 seasons in the NFL put him well past what most players manage. Still, constant adversity marred his run. There were probably only a few times when Schlereth wasn’t playing in excruciating pain.
According to Fox Sports, the Washington Redskins picked Schlereth way down in the 10th round of the 1989 NFL Draft. For such a late pick, his success became rapidly apparent. He made his first of two Pro Bowl appearances by 1991. His next was in 1998, the same year he helped the Denver Broncos win Super Bowl XXXIII. And that day happened to be his birthday.
But after 12 years, his body had finally had enough. Nagging knee issues also plagued his uncommonly long career. He endured 29 surgeries before finally walk away from the gridiron, UPI reported. At 35 years old, his body could no longer recover as it once did. Schlereth was mentally ready to continue playing, but physically, he couldn’t.
Schlereth’s NFL earnings were only the beginning
Schlereth made millions in the NFL. He topped out at over $2 million in his final season, according to Celebrity Net Worth. But he ended up earning a good chunk of his fortune as a commentator and analyst.
Today he covers the NFL for Fox Sports and its FS1 cable network. His TV work also includes occasional acting appearances on daytime soaps. He had a recurring role on the HBO series Ballers too. However, his main earnings come from something even more interesting.
Schlereth’s biggest post-career move: chile sauce
Mark Schlereth is a notably chatty guy. He struck up a friendship with his landscaper, David Bloom. One day, Bloom gave the former guard some green chile sauce, the pair’s official website, Stinkin’ Good, relates. It was an apparently mind-blowing family recipe. Schlereth knew he had just tasted something special.
The two partnered to bring that recipe to the masses. They call it Stinkin’ Good Green Chile. The product line is now nationally distributed, available at most upscale grocery chains in the United States. Since the original recipe emerged in 2008, the line has expanded to include chicken, pork, and veggie variants. As the bow on top, the pair also developed a queso dip.
In a way, Schlereth’s endeavor is a perfect fit for a former NFL player. Instead of working hard on the field during Super Bowl games, he now provides the perfect accompaniment for a fun watch party. By donating a portion of the product’s profits to the Denver Rescue Mission, Schlereth is also giving back to the community that supported his highest-paid season.
The NFL meant so much to Schlereth that he played through terrible injuries for years. But he doesn’t appear to have lost his identity in retirement. With the right moves, life after football can be just as enriching.