Paul Kruger Conference Call Transcript



How do you feel like you'll fit in Baltimore?

"Perfect. I can't wait to get out there and start getting to know everybody. I'm really excited about being in such a powerful defense like Baltimore's, so I can't wait."

Can you describe what you bring as a pass rusher and all-around defensive player?

"There are a lot of things that I think I bring to the table – a lot of energy and a lot of heart. I'm a guy who loves to play with emotion, and so one of the major things that I think I can contribute is a lot of effort, a lot of intensity. And along with that, I feel like I'm talented and strong, and I have all the physical attributes as well."

We had heard that some teams had questions about your medical status after the attack you underwent. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and do you have a clean bill of health coming in here?

"One-hundred percent healthy. It's never affected me with football in any way. I know that teams are a little concerned about that, but to me it's just another scar on my body. I only have one kidney; I've experienced some traumatic things, but I've played through them for years. So to me, it's disappointing that people would think of me like that. But I can't express how grateful I am and happy to be in the situation that I'm in, coming to Baltimore, being on such a powerful team. I'm just really excited to be out there."

Can you talk about the contact you had with the Ravens throughout this process?

"Very minimal contact. It was kind of a surprise. They were a team that I knew had interest, just because of the meetings I had at the Combine. But I never worked out; they never worked me out. I never took a trip there or anything. Everybody always told me that you never know where you're going to end up, and it's certainly true. I never would have guessed Maryland in a million years. I couldn't be more ecstatic."

Do you feel like you bring a lot to the table as far as maturity, having been on a mission and being a bit older than your typical rookie?

"Yeah, I mean definitely. I feel like I have my head on straight. You're not going to have any issues with me with off-the-field kind of stuff. I feel like, yeah, I definitely bring some maturity and some focus, experience, things like that. So yeah, I'd agree with that."

Did the injury and other things in the past affect your stock today in waiting for your name to be called?

"You know, I did expect to be called a little earlier, but a lot of people have told me that it could have a big effect on me from a medical standpoint, just the risk involved. But, like I said, I'm just really happy, and this situation I'm in right now is second to none. Baltimore is a team that was willing to give me that shot, and I can't wait to start working for them and make good things happen."

Who called you to let you know you'd been picked, and what did they say?

"I think I talked to everybody, I'm serious. I talked to… I'm going to have to start remembering names and getting used to all this, but I talked to the coordinators, to the owner of the team, general manager. It was a really cool experience."

What went into your decision to leave after your sophomore year?

"The age factor played a big role in my decision, the fact that I'm two years older. Right now, I'm the same age as most of the seniors coming out. That was definitely a big part. I also felt like I was prepared. Physically and mentally, I was definitely ready and that's obviously proven itself to be a true thing. I'm glad I made the decision. I'm really happy with where I'm at. But those are the two biggest factors – my age, as well as the fact that I was ready for it physically, the way I was playing the game, and mentally, from a maturity standpoint."

Do you feel like you're a guy who's going to play out of a two-point stance much? Will you play as a down defensive end? What did they tell you about where you're going to play football for the Ravens?

"They kind of left it up in the air still. They told me, 'We'll look at playing you at an outside linebacker.' Or, put some weight on me and throw me down in a three-point stance. I think we'll just see. As soon as I meet with the coaches and get everything settled in and make that transition, I feel like then we'll see where things pan out."

It's not often you see someone switch from quarterback to defensive lineman. Do you think that gives you more insight in how to play defense?

"I think it definitely helped early on with making the transition, but everybody at the next level in the NFL is very smart, very detailed. So I think that it definitely helped me early on, but as far as right now, I think I'm a defensive end/linebacker-type guy and that's just where you're at. Everybody is kind of on the same level."

How much do you know about the Ravens' defense that you're about the join?

"I watch ESPN and the NFL Network just like everybody else. I've never been out there. I don't know any of the players or anything like that. But I do know, obviously, about Ray Lewis, and the crew is obviously doing great things. As I said, it's a fearsome and powerful group, and I'm honored to join the team and to have this opportunity."

Was your Mormon mission domestic or overseas?

"It was domestic. Kansas City, Mo."

The lost kidney, was that in a car accident?

"Yeah, it was sort of an ATV accident. I was in a Jeep Wrangler and we were four-wheeling up in the foothills, and we rolled it. We started rolling down the hill, and the Jeep flipped over and it flipped me out of the Jeep. Then, it rolled on top of me and smashed my kidney and my spleen."

How old were you?

"I was 13 years old."

What were the circumstances around the stabbing incident?

"The stabbing incident was one of those deals. I was hosting my little brother on his recruiting trip, and I was with a few of the players, a few girls. We were leaving a party. I was introducing him to some players and some other people at a recruiting party or whatever. As we were leaving the party, there was a gang, a group of guys drove by and started saying things out of the windows. The group I was with just sort of threw their hands up, and the guys pulled over and it ended up being a big brawl. We were outnumbered about four to one, and it just got real bad very fast. As I was fighting with a couple of kids, one of their other friends came up behind me and stabbed me twice in the side, and everybody split after that. Luckily, I got to the hospital and everything was OK. It was pretty traumatic, but it ended up being OK. I'm lucky to be where I am, very fortunate, but it was a serious incident for sure."

How long ago was that?

"That was last year. Let's see, it was the winter of 2007. That was in Utah."

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