|Date of birth:||June 23, 1972|
|Place of birth:||Columbus, Nebraska|
|NFL draft:||1995 / Round: 6 / Pick: 192|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Cory Schlesinger (born June 23, 1972 in Columbus, Nebraska) is a former American football fullback of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nebraska.
Schlesinger was a two-time all-state selection at linebacker at Columbus High School in Columbus, Nebraska, leading the team in tackles as a junior and senior. He also played fullback as a senior in 1990, rushing for 1,514 yards and 23 touchdowns (including nine 100-yard games). He was named the Nebraska Defensive Player of the Year as a prep senior and played with a group of Nebraska football all-stars in the Down Under Bowl in Sydney, Australia following his senior campaign.
He also won the 189-pound wrestling state championship twice during his prep career.
Schlesinger was a two-year starter for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. As a junior, he was the 1993 Husker Co-Lifter-of-the-Year with linebacker Donta Jones. During that season he finished as the team's fifth-leading rusher with 48 carries for 193 yards and one touchdown.
He earned All-Big Eight Conference honorable mention honors in 1994 in a coaches poll and a Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight pick the same year with a 3.44 grade point average in industrial technology. Schlesinger scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 1995 Orange Bowl in a 24–17 win over the Miami Hurricanes as a senior to secure Nebraska's first national title under then-head coach Tom Osborne.
He would finish second on the team in rushing in 1994 with 456 yards and 4 TD including an impressive 7.2 YPC.
Schlesinger was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round (192nd overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. He started two of the team's first three games during his rookie season at fullback blocking for Barry Sanders, but playing time in backfield diminished soon thereafter when offense began employing three-receiver sets on almost every play from scrimmage. He finished second on the team with 15 special teams tackles.
Schlesinger was primarily used on special teams in 1996, leading club in with 13 special teams stops on the year. He started one game at fullback—at the Chicago Bears on November 24—but did not record a carry or reception. Also, had an 89-yard touchdown for the season opener record long.
Splitting time at fullback with Tommy Vardell in 1997, Schlesinger saw more action there than in previous years with Lions with the team moving to a predominantly two-back set. He again played role as one of the team's most valuable special teams members, finishing second on team with 27 tackles. He caught career-long 33-yard pass at the Green Bay Packers on November 2 on fourth-and-one on a misdirection route, advancing Lions to the Packers' one-yard line with a touchdown occurring on the next play. He also made several blocks against the Minnesota Vikings on November 16, helping spring Vardell for three one-yard touchdown runs and a 41-yard run. Schlesinger scored his first career touchdown (one yard) at the Minnesota Vikings on December 14 on play-action pass on goal line.
Schlesinger was the backup fullback to Tommy Vardell at most times during 1998, but saw significant action in the backfield. He served as one of squad's most productive special teams players for fourth consecutive season, with his 18 tackles ranking fifth on the Lions. On offense, he was part of team's "jumbo" package at goal-line and in short-yardage with he and Vardell sharing the backfield. His daughter Natalie Rae Schlesinger was born.
In 1999, Schlesinger became the Lions' full-time starting fullback. In the season opener at the Seattle Seahawks, he set career highs in rushes (10) and rushing yards (50). His third career touchdown reception (three yards) came on a play-action pass on fourth-and-one against the St. Louis Rams on November 7. He also finished third on the team with 15 special teams tackles. Schlesinger was named as a member of the 1999 All-Madden team and filmed a sketch for the show in a Lincoln, Nebraska grocery store where he repeatedly crashed into other shoppers with his cart.
Schlesinger played in all 16 games for fifth time in six NFL seasons and second year as Lions' starting fullback. His 15 special teams tackles tied for fifth on squad as well. His daughter Leah Kate Schlesinger was born.
In 2001, the Lions named Marty Mornhinweg head coach and the team moved away from a power rushing attack to the west coast offense. The fullback, in addition to rushing and blocking responsibilities, can also be more involved in the passing game. Schlesinger finished the 2001 season with single-season career highs in rushing attempts (47), rushing yards (154), rushing touchdowns (three), receptions (60) and receiving yards (466). He reeled in career highs with five receptions for 37 yards at the Cleveland Browns on September 23. The first rushing touchdown of his career came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 11, as he also posted then-career highs in receptions (five) and receiving yards (54). Against the Green Bay Packers on November 22, he led the team with career-high six receptions (41 yards), along with five rushes for 39 yards, including a career-long 26-yard run off a fake punt. He set career-highs with 11 receptions for 67 yards against the Chicago Bears on December 30. On the year Schlesinger rushed for 16 first downs—the only season of his career he has accumulated a double-digit total in the category.
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.
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. Schlesinger was the 2005 recipient of the Detroit Lions/Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association/Pro Football Writers Association's Media-Friendly "Good Guy" Award. The Good Guy Award is given yearly to the Detroit Lions player who shows consideration to, and cooperation with the media at all times during the season.
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.
- Spent parts of the 1995–1997 off-seasons as a student teacher at Park Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska and taught at his alma mater during the 1998–1999 off-seasons.
- Drove in demolition derbies for three years during high school.
- He has recently toured with the Sons Of Thunder strength team performing various feats of strength i.e. brick and board breaking, bar bending.