Any Ute fan quickly recognizes the name Kruger. Several of the Kruger boys have played football for the University of Utah and now three of them are in the NFL. Shauna Lake
got a chance to sit down and talk to the eldest of the three, Paul Kruger, in this week’s “Person 2 Person
is a former Ute football player who is now a Super Bowl champion. However, this standout linebacker has had more than a few bumps along the way. Two life threatening incidents have made Paul who he is today, an NFL player who is reaching our and helping children through his Kruger Care foundation
Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake’s “Person 2 Person” on Paul Kruger:SHAUNA LAKE
: I am so impressed and surprised sort of, that all three of your brothers are all playing in the NFL. I’m just wondering what kind of parenting leads to that result? That’s pretty incredible!PAUL KRUGER
: Yeah it is. It’s been awesome to watch my brothers this year and see their development. My parents are some of the most amazing people, and as I grow older, I realize how fortunate I was to be able to be raised in a home where correct principles were taught.SHAUNA LAKE:
Which is the best athlete out of the three of you, the best football player?PAUL KRUGER:
The best football player? I don’t know. I mean, I’m kind of in the lead right now, but you never know. They’re pretty dang good.SHAUNA LAKE:
I was interested to read when I was studying up on you that you’ve had some near death experiences. Not just one, but you’ve actually had two. Your first at 13 years old which was pretty significant.PAUL KRUGER
: Yeah, I was just in a Jeep accident, a Jeep rollover. None of us were wearing seat belts so everybody kind of went flying out of the Jeep, and I just happened to be thrown right in front of the roll path. The Jeep rolled over my stomach so I lost a kidney and a spleen and was on life support for a little bit. It just seems like so long ago now, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
Then while he was in college, Paul ended up in the hospital once again. This time it was after he and his brother were jumped by a gang in Salt Lake City.PAUL KRUGER
: It was just a confrontation that turned into a fight. So yeah, I got stabbed twice in my side. It collapsed my lung and hit an artery. I had to be in surgery for that. So that was a pretty wild experience.
: And you went to the Sugar Bowl that same year?PAUL KRUGER:
Yeah, I went to the Sugar Bowl.SHAUNA LAKE
: How does that happen?
You know, I wish it would have never had happened, but it happened at the right time if it was to happen. It was right after the season so I had time to recuperate and get back healthy. Then just with the support of teammates and family and friends just was able to come back.
Playing in the NFL had its glamorous side, but as Paul has experienced, the fame can also take a toll.
Sometimes it comes to a point when you’re off doing your own thing when you can get lonely, especially without having a family or being married. It’s not on a daily basis, but even when you’re around teammates and people, you’re meeting all these different people. Do they really know who you are? Do they really identify with you? I want to be able to live where I want to live and be around people I want to be around. It’s hard sometimes to be told you’ve got to live out here and you’ve got to relocate every couple years. It gets old.
Paul has created the Kruger Care Foundation. His goal is to help assist and enrich the lives of young children and teens.PAUL KRUGER:
I would say the biggest thing that’s been on my mind lately is how many negative influences there are right now in the world that are taking our youth’s minds to a place they shouldn’t be. That bothers me, and I think my passion is really becoming how to break those trends. How I can better that situation. When are the leaders for good things going to stand up and say, ‘you know what guys? This is what it really is to be cool, to do these things and to be successful in these ways.’ So that’s really where I’m trying to focus a lot of my attention. I think there’s nothing more rewarding than to help kids identify with things that are going to make their lives better, their kids’ lives better.
It has been so nice to get to know you “Person 2 Person.”
Yeah, you too.Paul Kruger grew up near Salt Lake City. He played college football for the Utes and was on the 2013 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens team. He is now a Linebacker for the Cleveland Browns.
You can follow Paul on Twitter @PKruger99. For more information on Kruger Care visit krugercare.org Shauna Lake Interviews Paul Kruger - Cleveland Browns LinebackerCheck out KUTV's Web Only Extras from the Paul Kruger Person 2 Person Interview with Shauna LakePaul Kruger Reflects on His Latter Day Saints MissionPaul Kruger on Dating in the NFLPaul Kruger Shows His 2013 Super Bowl Ring -Produced by Leslie Tillotson
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)