BEREA—Paul Kruger felt it was more important to skip an invitation to the White House today than to miss the second day of Browns minicamp.
The Ravens were invited to the White House for winning the most recent Super Bowl and that event was taking place Wednesday.
“It fell on a day we we’re working,” Kruger said. “It’s a new team and I have to show my loyalties.”
However, Kruger said he will be able to make the ring ceremony on Friday in Baltimore.
“I will be there Friday,” he said. “Luckily, it fell on a day we were done.”
Kruger was the Browns prize signing in free agency after signing a five-year contract for over $40 million on the first day of free agency.
He sees the defense coming together.
“Things are going well and we’re finally starting to mesh,” he said. “It’s going well and we’re going strong as we go to training camp.”
Kruger said he is trying to lead by example.
“I think, at this point, the best way to help guys is to lead by example, do the right things and set the tone,” he said. “The young guys will pick up on that.”
Number one pick Barkevious Mingo said he is learning just from being around Kruger.
“Paul is just coming off winning a Super Bowl,” Mingo said. “I feel I can learn a lot from him.”
Kruger has been impressed with what he’s seen of Mingo.
“The guy is explosive and fast and he’s making strides,” Kruger said.
Rob Chudzinski said that Kruger is fitting in well.
“He’s a guy that’s been around and from the experience he has, it’s a new system but Paul is doing a great job.”
Kruger thinks the defense as a whole is progressing under Ray Horton.
“Everybody has strides to make and it’s important we make the right moves now so are ready for training camp.”
One rarity for Kruger is playing alongside his younger brother, Dave, who was signed as an undrafted free agent.
“It’s a special deal,” he said. “We’re great friends and nice to have a familiar face around. I played with him one year at Utah. He’s doing some good things.”
Paul Kruger knows his brother will have to have a great training camp as it is a tough road for an undrafted player to make an NFL team, especially a position the Browns are already deep at.
“Camp is really going to be big for him and it will be make or break for him.”
T Rich Disputes Reports: RB Trent Richardson spoke to reporters after the second day of minicamp and refuted the reports that he would miss the beginning of training camp with a lower leg injury.
“I still expect to be out there day one,” Richardson said. “People say I have another injury. It’s nothing to be worried about. It’s the same thing I told you two weeks ago. I will miss the three day camp and that’s what it is.”
Richardson re-iterated what Rob Chudzinski said that sitting out minicamp was precautionary.
“It’s best for me and the team (to sit out),” he said. “It shows me that they care and they want me to be a big part of the offense.
“The only thing I need is rest.”
Richardson said he wasn’t stepped on and he hasn’t lost weight due to the injury. He said he’s trying to lose a couple pounds and play around 222 to 223 pounds. He said he currently is 225 and played last season at 230 to 232.
“I’m trying to get back to what I played at in college.”
He did say he’s been dealing with occasional migraine headaches his entire life and takes medication for that.
“I’ve been taking migraine medication my whole life,” he said. “Migraines are the worst thing you can ever have but they don’t come that often, but when they do you have to be ahead of it.”
Richardson said he can’t wait to put this all behind him.
“I really just looking to the day when I can be back out practicing with the fellas,” he said. “That’s basically what I’m looking forward to.”
Richardson reminded those talking with him that after missing the preseason and breaking a pair of ribs, he missed little time in 2012.
“After everything I went through last year I only missed one game and that was heart breaking to me,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get back out there.”
New Specialists: With the departure of Pro Bowl K Phil Dawson and KR/PR Josh Cribbs the Browns are looking to overhaul the two positions.
WR Travis Benjamin is the most likely leader for punt returns and likely for kickoff returns.
Johnson Bademosi and then Buster Skrine took turns on kickoffs before Benjamin and Dion Lewis did.
“It’s really open right now,” Chudzinski said. “We’re getting a lot of different guys. “We’re getting the mechanics of the blocking and the timing of that together, so we’ll continue to work a group of guys back there. Then we’ll continue to work a group of guys back there. Then we’ll hone in by the time we get into the preseason and into the games.”
Lewis has the most experience with 32 kickoff returns in two seasons with the Eagles. He averaged 21.9 yards in two years. Skrine returned three kickoffs in 2011 and averaged 24 yards. Benjamin returned just three kickoffs last year and averaged 25.3. He had three punt returns , including a 93 yard return for touchdown.
The kickers trying to replace Dawson are Brandon Bogotay and Shayne Graham. Bogotay has shown a stronger leg than 12-year veteran Graham has, but the competition is close.
“It’s been back and forth,” Chudzinski said. “Obviously, you get into the preseason and those games and that will be very important part of the process of the evaluation. With Shayne here, he’s a veteran guy who has been through a lot and been through a lot of games. Both of those guys have been kicking vell.”
In practice Wednesday, Bogotay hit a 55-yard field goal to cap a drive in the two-minute drill. He also hit a 51-yard field goal. Graham hit one from 46 yards and missed wide right from 54 yards.
Cameron Hurt: TE Jordan Cameron pulled up after QB Brandon Weeden through a pass to him in the end zone. Cameron missed last week’s OTA with a groin injury.
“We’ll find out tomorrow. I think he was a little tight.”
Sneak Peak: The Browns announced that they are streaming the first 15 minutes of practice live at www.Clevelandbrowns.com beginning at 10:15 am.