Paul Kruger:Mormon Athlete

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Paul Kruger Mormon Athlete
Courtesy Baltimore Ravens

Paul Christian Kruger Jr. is an American football linebacker. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Kruger was born on February 15, 1986, in Rexburg, Idaho, to parents Paul, who played football at Oregon State, and Jennifer, who was a member of the Oregon State track and field team. He has two brothers. He survived a jeep accident at age 13, but he lost a kidney and his spleen. He came close to death in January 2008 when a street stabbing in Salt Lake City left him with a collapsed lung and a 6.5-inch scar on his chest. His injury required nearly 50 staples during a four-hour surgery.

He played football for Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah, where he was All-Conference and preseason All-America quarterback as a senior. He lettered each year and was team captains. Student Sports ranked him in the top 30 quarterbacks nationally.

After high school graduation, Kruger signed with the University of Utah Utes as quarterback in 2004 and played on the Fiesta Bowl championship team. From 2005 to 2007, he served a full-time mission to the Missouri Independence Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ. He started at right end for the U of U’s 2008 Sugar Bowl championship team. After his all-conference sophomore season in 2008, he set aside his final two years of college to be eligible for the 2009 draft.

The Baltimore Ravens drafted Kruger in the second round of the National Football League 2009 draft. During his tenure in Baltimore, Kruger appeared in 51 games with seven starts, registering 70 tackles, 15.5 sacks, two interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.

He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Cleveland Browns in March 2013.

Kruger founded the Kruger Care Foundation in 2010, which assists individuals and organizations in enriching the lives of children and families who have been devastated by illness, injury, and difficult challenges.