I often dream of Mark Schlereth, but not in the way that he might hope.
My dreams are nightmarish scenes involving him telling boring stories about NFL line play and rubbing his fake tan up against me. When he's not doing that, he's giving me acting lessons and performing knee surgery on me.
When I wake up in a cold sweat, I have to remind myself to never again watch NFL Live right before bed.
Schlereth is a regular on NFL Live, and he contributes in a variety of ways to the plethora of ESPN shows and propaganda. A former Redskins and Broncos lineman, he is best known perhaps for his 20 knee surgeries in 12 NFL years—a fact that he is never shy about sharing. Recently he was featured on the soap opera Guiding Light as detective Roc Hoover, and he did so well that the show is considering adding him as a regular.
Life couldn't be better for Schlereth. And it couldn't be worse for viewers like me.
I love my NFL, and my devotion often leads me blindly toward shows that do more harm than good. Case in point: Tuesday night's NFL Live. With not much to talk about in the football world, there was a good amount of camera time for Schlereth to yuk it up with anyone within shouting distance. And so he did. Cracking jokes was bad enough, but the close-ups were worse. Schlereth's fake-bake skin tone and uncomfortable eye stare were front and center for a good 15 minutes.
"No!" I screamed. "Not in HD!"
But it was too late.
Listening to Schlereth talk is like listening to a used car salesman trying to sell you the car you already own: He is smooth and oily beyond all reason, and the points he makes tend to inform you of what you already know. I feel squeamish just hearing his voice, and I feel sick to my stomach whenever ESPN gives him camera time (especially those standing, talk-into-the-camera segments).
For the life of me, I am convinced that Schlereth is up to something. Maybe he is planning a coup of ESPN headquarters using the stars of Days of Our Lives and General Hospital as his cronies. Maybe his smugness comes from information he has on Denver Bronco linemen that could ruin their careers if they so much as talk to the media. Or maybe he is Terminator 4, and his reign of terror over the earth got sidetracked by a tanning salon and virgin daiquiris at the ESPN cafeteria.
I just hope that we don't have to put up with Schlereth's Hollywood jock schtick any longer.
I want to go back to dreaming about John Clayton.