Cory Schlesinger : biography
For his efforts during the season, he was voted the Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player by teammates and was also voted onto Howie Long’s Tough Guy team. He was also named to the 2001 All-Pro Team by Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman (‘Dr. Z’) and to the College and Pro Football Newsweekly 2001 All-Pro Second Team squad.
In 2002 Schlesinger helped pave the way for running back James Stewart, who ran for a career-high 172 rushing yards against the Chicago Bears on October 20. He finished the year with 139 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns along with 35 receptions for 263 yards. He was an alternate in the 2002 Pro Bowl to starter Mike Alstott.
Schlesinger was the Detroit Lions recipient of the 2002 Ed Block Courage Award.
In 2003, Schlesinger was voted by his teammates as the Bobby Layne Offensive MVP Award winner and as the Mike Utley Spirit Award winner. He was named an alternate to the 2004 Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season. Schlesinger played his best all-around game of the season against the Oakland Raiders on November 2, highlighted by a 33-yard touchdown reception from Joey Harrington—the longest touchdown catch of his career. He led the team with four catches for 53 yards, opened lanes for the Lions’ second 100-yard rushing effort of the season and made a key block on Reggie Swinton’s 61-yard kickoff return. He was an alternate in the 2003 Pro Bowl to starter Mike Alstott.
Schlesinger was named as an alternate to the 2005 Pro Bowl for the third-straight season. He finished the season with a career-high three receiving touchdowns. He had a key 30-yard reception on the Lions winning touchdown drive against the Chicago Bears on September 12 which put the Lions on the Bears’ 4-yard line. During Schlesinger’s 150th NFL game at the Minnesota Vikings on November 21, he helped running back Kevin Jones to his first 100-yard game. He cleared the path for Jones to rush for 196 yards against the Arizona Cardinals on December 5 and 156 yards at the Green Bay Packers on December 12.
On December 26 against the Chicago Bears, Schlesinger cleared the path for Kevin Jones to record his fourth 100-yard game of the season and become the third rookie in Lions history to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Schlesinger missed three games due to a hamstring injury during the season.
He was a 2004 Pro Bowl alternate to starter Fred Beasley.
Schlesinger missed the first portion of the 2005 season after suffering a fractured fibula to left leg in preseason opener at New York Jets on August 12. He made his season debut at the Cleveland Browns on October 23, appearing on special teams and recording two receptions for 10 yards. His lone touchdown of the season came at the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 1, 2006—a one-yard pass from quarterback Joey Harrington.
In 2006, Schlesinger played in 14 games with four starts to record eight catches for 36 yards (4.5 avg). He made key blocks on special teams, including one to break open kick returner Eddie Drummond for a season-high 65-yard gain at the St. Louis Rams on October 1. He was inactive with a hamstring injury at the New York Jets on October 22 and against the Atlanta Falcons on November 5. He returned to the lineup against the San Francisco 49ers on November 12 to play in his 174th career game, which moved him into a tie for seventh with placekicker Eddie Murray (1980–1991) on the team’s all-time games played list.
The arrival of offensive coordinator Mike Martz prior to the 2006 season inevitably spelled the end for Schlesinger’s tenure in Detroit. With the team adopting Martz’s wide open offensive philosophy, the Lions showed little interest in retaining Schlesinger as an unrestricted free agent during the 2007 off-season.
Schlesinger signed with the Miami Dolphins on March 11, 2007 in anticipation he would become the lead blocker for running back Ronnie Brown. However, he was released at the end of training camp, losing out to rookie sixth-round draft pick Reagan Mauia.