"It is different. It is definitely different," said the former Ute standout, a rookie linebacker/defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens. "You learn how to waste your time or make use of your time. It is easy to waste your time."
Kruger, 23, certainly had more time on his hands earlier this season than he cared to have. He did not see game action in several contests early in the 2009 campaign. Off the field, he has gone out to dinner with friends on the team and said he enjoys the social aspect of the pro lifestyle.
But why was he not playing early on?
"I don't know. I think the coaches would be better to ask about that," said Kruger, without being rude. "Sometimes it gets you down when you are not playing."
But as the Ravens get ready to play Saturday at Indianapolis in the AFC playoffs, Kruger has become at least a small cog in a defense that consistently ranks among the best in the NFL. The Timpanogos High graduate from Orem, Utah, and former Mormon missionary played in his first NFL game on Oct. 4 at New England. Kruger played in eight of 16 regular-season games, with one start, and he returned his first career interception for 26 yards to set up a game-winning field goal in the Ravens' 20-17 overtime win at Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.