It wasn't the first time that Kruger ended up in a hospital for emergency surgery.

When Kruger was 13 years old, he was four-wheeling in a Jeep Wrangler when it flipped and rolled on top of him. His kidney and spleen were damaged so badly that they had to be removed.

“I’m extremely blessed,” Kruger said. “I’ve been through a lot of different things. It’s definitely been something I’ve been able to draw from in life. You go through hard things and you see yourself and what you’re going through.

“You may have tough circumstances. I had times where I wasn’t playing and I was frustrated by things. You see other people, little kids that have been injured or people with cancer, and there’s no room for complaints in life.”
 
When Kruger was drafted 57th overall, he arrived in Baltimore with high expectations of building a formidable tandem with Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
 
Kruger didn’t make an immediate impact, though. He had just a dozen tackles and an interception as a rookie. His second season was nearly as quiet with just one tackle, his first NFL sack.
 
By last year, the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder bulked up through diligent work in the weight room. And he put the added muscle to use, finishing the season with a career-high 5 ½ sacks.

But when Kruger entered the NFL, he admitted some of the problems he dealt with were because of his actions.

"I've matured a lot," said Kruger, who has a career-high 31 tackles. "I had never had money before in my life. You start being around a lot of different influences. I learned the hard way, being around bad agents, being around girls, being around parties.

"You start to realize, 'This is not the path I want to go down, this is not who I am.' A little bit of that stuff is OK, but you got to learn how to control it.”

A Mormon, Kruger said he always maintained his religion throughout his growing pains.
 
Kruger credits his large family for giving him needed stability.
 
“I never lost touch,” Kruger said. “I always held strong to and always had a passion for my faith and my family. They’ve been the biggest support and success in my life. That’s who I am and what I’m all about.”

Getting to the quarterback

Kruger only had 1.5 sacks through three games and went without a sack for four consecutive weeks prior to breaking out with two sacks against the Oakland Raiders.

Now, he's on a tear.

"Paul's playing really well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "The last two, three weeks he's really, really played well. He's been a huge impact in our sub packages."

Against the Raiders, Kruger had a season-high six tackles and an interception.

One reason attriibuted to Kruger's success is simplifying his role to more of a pure pass-rushing approach.

"I think part of it is what we've done a little bit schematically is change some of our packages and put guys in roles that we think they can flourish in and also sometimes take a little bit off of their plate in terms of having to know so much,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “We're just trying to concentrate on here's what we can do, here's where we're going to put you. He's accepted that role very, very well, and really done a good job with it."