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Recently, there were reports that Ravens second-round draft pick Paul Kruger was not happy about having to play special teams in order to make it to the active roster on gameday.
Not true, Kruger says.
Actually, it was more like this: “That’s about as untrue as you can get.”
That’s what Kruger told me in the locker room on Wednesday. The Ravens simply haven’t been able to get the talented linebacker/defensive end on the field this year because he doesn’t contribute on special teams – at least as much as other players do.
But Kruger wants to play so bad he has been taking all the special teams reps he can get in practice. He said he even volunteered to play tight end last week if it meant he would suit up on Sundays.
“I’ve been practicing with special teams since the day I got here,” explained the Utah product. “I’m completely willing and excited to get on any team I can. Defense, special teams, offense. I don’t care what it is, I just want to be out there.”
Ravens fans have been in an uproar about Kruger being on the inactive list in Weeks 1, 2 and 3. They had a taste of what he could do in the preseason, as Kruger started when linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs was sidelined with a heel injury.
Now, he is listed on the depth chart behind Suggs, Jarret Johnson and Antwan Barnes.
“I felt pretty good. I thought I did well in the preseason,” Kruger said. “There are always the things you wish you could have done, but I ran hard and fought out there. I made some plays. We are very deep at the position, though.”
Speculation of Kruger’s attitude got so rampant that his agent vehemently denied the accusation in an interview.
The Ravens have all the faith in the world that Kruger will develop into an impact player.
“He’s doing a good job,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He works really hard. At some point in time, he’s going to be really important to us. He’s going to be up and active and playing in a game. Until that time, he’s important to us for what he’s doing in practice. Paul has a great future. He works really hard at it, and he’s a good football player.”
Kruger is obviously disappointed that he hasn’t been playing. But to say that he refused or did not want to play special teams, something he rarely did in college, is absurd.