When it comes to facing adverse situations, new Cleveland Browns outside linebacker
The four-year NFL veteran had to overcome several life-threatening situations, including an accident while in his uncle’s Jeep, and a stabbing incident during his days at the University of Utah, before making it to the professional ranks.
“Going through those things was something,” Kruger said Wednesday during his introductory press conference with the Browns. “I really learned what it means to have a support system. Having parents, family members and friends who truly care and who were there for you, to me it’s just a testament that this life could be difficult by yourself, and you need those people behind you.
“I would say it’s the same with a team. The more you can support each other and be there for each other as teammates, as coaches and players, that’s what creates those tight bonds.”
When Kruger was 13 years old, he joined two of his brothers and one sister for a trip through the mountains of Utah in their uncle’s Jeep. The Jeep was unable to make it up one of the steep climbs and Kruger was thrown from the vehicle. After being rushed to the hospital, Kruger lost a kidney, but later recovered from the injury.
His next brush with death came at the University of Utah when he suffered two stab wounds that plunged into his intestines, collapsed a lung and forced him back into emergency surgery.
“Going through some of things I have, surviving a couple near-death experiences has really taught me the importance of first, holding true to your faith and your belief in God and relying on that, and secondly, how important it is to have close family and friends and that support system,” Kruger said.