The Cleveland Browns are hoping linebacker Paul Kruger will provide leadership to a young, rebuilding team. Judging by what he’s doing in his hometown, Kruger will deliver.
Long before signing a five-year, $40 million contract with Cleveland, Kruger established his foundation to assist youth. And now he’s staging a Leadership Academy Day on June 14 at Timpanogos High School in Orem, where he played quarterback on his way to becoming a star defensive lineman for the University of Utah and a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens.
The event, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free to male youth of ages 13-18 (pre-registration is required at krugercare.org). Kruger’s program will include mentoring sessions, followed by team-building activities, skill challenges and his keynote address, which is open to the participants’ families.
“From high school to the Super Bowl, the lessons of teamwork, planning and overcoming adversity remain the same,” Kruger said.
The leadership event is new to the Kruger Care Foundation’s annual program, which includes a dinner and auction that night and a golf tournament the following day at Thanksgiving Point. Kruger’s level of community awareness is impressive, considering he got involved with Utah-based efforts well before he became established in the NFL.
He’s certainly at that point now, entering his fifth season. As a defensive end/linebacker, Kruger led the Ravens with nine sacks in the 2012 regular season, then added 4.5 sacks in four playoff games - including two sacks of San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl. Each third-down play forced the 49ers to settle for a field goal in the first half of Baltimore’s 34-31 victory.
Highland High product Haloti Ngata and other former Baltimore teammates of Kruger’s, including Michael Oher and Torrey Smith, are among the NFL players expected to join him in the weekend’s events.