Kruger brothers team up in Cleveland

Posted May 10, 2013

Cleveland linebacker Paul Kruger is proud of his younger brothers, Joe, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, and David, whom the Browns signed as a free agent last week.

Following the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns signed 18 undrafted free agents. And former University of Utah defensive tackle David Kruger was one of them.

David Kruger is the middle brother of new Browns linebacker Paul Kruger, whom the team signed in the opening hours of free agency back in March.

“It’s awesome, man,” David Kruger said of signing with the Browns. “It’s going to be a great experience. I’m excited. Having your older brother on the team is definitely a plus. Not only on the field, but off the field, it’s a great thing to have someone that’s the type of player and caliber that Paul is as a teacher and a brother. Off the field, it’s the same thing. Whatever it may be, it’s great to have one of your best friends and your older brother with you.”

During his college career, David Kruger started 37 of 49 career games, where he totaled 116 tackles, 3.5 sacks, a pair of fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

When it came to figuring out where he would start his NFL career, David made the decision based on family and a fit with Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who worked him out at his Pro Day at Utah.

“My agent called actually during the draft and said, ‘Where do want to go? We’ve got a bunch of teams really interested in signing you as a free agent, and you pretty much have your choice of where you want to go,’” David Kruger recalled. “I said, ‘Well, it would be nice to live somewhere nice, hot and sunny, but you know what, I might as well be with one of my brothers, so let’s go with the Browns.’”

Paul Kruger, who registered a team-best nine sacks during the 2013 regular season and 4.5 in the playoffs for the Super Bowl XLVII champion Ravens, said “it’s always easier to have a nice support system” when adjusting to a new city, which he and David will do together in Cleveland.

“Your rookie year is by far your hardest in my opinion,” Paul Kruger said. “It’s just a big adjustment. You’re in a different place, different city and atmosphere. To be there and be supportive when he needs me, or if he doesn’t and he’s good, whatever it is, just being able to be here together, it’s going to help me as well as him. I’m excited about it.”

In addition to seeing David sign with the Browns, Paul Kruger, a second-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, was with his family as the youngest brother, Joe, became a seventh-round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles this year.

“It’s great to be able to see them accomplish their dreams, be able to make it and have an opportunity to play,” Paul Kruger said of his younger brothers. “Especially to get David here, I’m real excited and happy for him. There’s a lot of hard work to come. It’s just the beginning and he’s got to make it and prove himself here. I’m just excited to be able to help him in that process.”

While he is looking forward to helping his middle brother through his rookie season in the NFL, Paul Kruger is also excited to see what his siblings can do at the NFL level.

“David’s more of a run-stopper,” Paul Kruger said. “I think he pass rushes well from the inside. He’s a hard-working guy and for his size, he holds his weight really well. For how big he is, he’s very athletic, so I think he’s got a bright future.

“Joe is one of those rare, rare athletes that you don’t see very often. He’s 6-7, 270, and you can see the type of athlete he is just by looking at him. He’s got one of those bodies that doesn’t come around very often. I think his upside is off the charts. He’s fast; he can pass rush; he’s agile.

“They’re both great guys off the field. We come from a great family and we’ve tried to apply the principles our parents have taught us through our lives, so they’re a good group for sure.”

*Photo courtesy of the University of Utah.

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