Mark Stepnoski

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Mark Stepnoski
No. 53
Center
Personal information
Date of birth: (1967-01-20) January 20, 1967 (age 47)
Place of birth: Erie, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Erie (PA) Cathedral
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 3 / Pick: 57
Debuted in 1989 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Mark Matthew Stepnoski (born January 20, 1967) is a former American football offensive lineman in the National Football League. He attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie, Pennsylvania, and went on to star at the University of Pittsburgh. Stepnoski's professional career in the NFL was spent with the Dallas Cowboys (1989–1994, 1999–2000), and the Houston Oilers (1995–1998). Stepnoski won two Super Bowls while with the Cowboys and was a five-time Pro Bowler, attending the game from 1992 through 1996.

Early years[edit]

Stepnoski, was a highly recruited All-State and Parade All-American offensive tackle from Erie Cathedral Preparatory School. He graduated from the school in 1985.

He signed with the University of Pittsburgh and became a four-year starter at offensive guard, helping clear the way for Craig Heyward and Curvin Richards to become two of the leading rushers in the nation.

Stepnoski was a third team All-America as a sophomore, a first team All-American in 1988 and one of the three finalists for the Outland Trophy as a senior. He was a two-time Academic All-American (1986 and 1988). Played in the East-West Shrine Game.

His play earned him a spot on his home state's All Century Second Team, compiled by the Pennsylvania Football News.

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)[edit]

Stepnoski was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1989 NFL Draft. He dropped in the draft because the scouts thought he was undersized for the NFL.

The Cowboys switched him to center, although he had never played that position. During his rookie year he was tutored by Tom Rafferty, who was playing his last season in the NFL. He became a starter for the last four games of the season.

Stepnoski used his athletic ability, leverage and balance, to outmaneuver bigger defensive players and become one of the leagues best centers of his era. By the end of the 1991 season he was selected to the first of five straight Pro Bowls.[2]

From 1992 to 1994, together with Erik Williams, Mark Tuinei, Nate Newton and Kevin Gogan, he was part of some of the best offensive lines to play in NFL history, that also helped paved the way for Emmitt Smith to become the NFL's All Time Leading Rusher.

In 1993, he suffered a knee injury that required surgery while playing against the Minnesota Vikings in the 13th game of the season. He was replaced by John Gesek and couldn't play during the Playoffs and Super Bowl XXVIII. He became a free agent at the end of the season, but the Cowboys could only sign him to a one-year contract ($1.2 million-dollars and a $500,000 signing bonus).

Stepnoski was one of the team's first big-name players to leave the Cowboys following the 1994 season via unrestricted free agency, leaving with 3 Pro Bowls and back-to-back Super Bowl victories.

Houston/Tennessee Oilers[edit]

He signed with the Houston Oilers in 1995, which later became the Tennessee Oilers in 1997. During his 4 seasons with the Oilers, he continued his streak of success making the Pro Bowl twice.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)[edit]

The Cowboys signed Stepnoski as a free agent in 1999, where he finished his career with 3 more solid years, retiring after the 2001 season.

Stepnoski played 13 years in the NFL, including five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and a place on the National Football League 1990s All-Decade second team.

Personal life[edit]

In November 2007, Stepnoski expressed support for the 9/11 Truth Movement.[3]

Stepnoski is also a marijuana legalization advocate and is an active member of NORML.[4] His position on this subject made his high school alma mater, Cathedral Preparatory School, rescind his nomination to the school's athletic hall of fame. For that same reason, he immigrated to Canada.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]