CLEVELAND - Tip-toeing his way around anything isn't what Paul Kruger is all about.
The Browns outside linebacker is built to be the bull in the china shop. He has a search-and-destroy mentality that played well in parts of four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
It had to seem strange then when Kruger felt the need to be careful with his words when asked about his time with the Ravens. He has a shiny Super Bowl ring to his credit from the Ravens' 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers last February, but he left Baltimore thinking he might not have received the accolades he feels he deserved.
"You have to earn respect in this league," Kruger said as he prepared this week for a return to Baltimore for Sunday's game against the Ravens. "Some guys are going to be pointed out more than others. That's just the nature of the media and guys have earned their way into making a name for themselves.
"You go to a team with a bunch of superstars, it takes a lot of hard work and plays to stand out. I'm not a guy that craves attention from people I don't need it from. I felt I got the respect and attention from the coaches and opponents that I played."
Kruger was primarily a role player in the first two of his four seasons with the Ravens, garnering no sacks in 2009 and one in 2010. He began to develop more on the field the last two seasons, finishing with 5.5 sacks in 2011 and nine in 2012.
The crowning jewel of last season for Kruger was a two-sack performance in the Super Bowl. Despite that showing, the Ravens, backed to the wall because of salary-cap issues, couldn't prevent him from signing a five-year, $40 million contract with the Browns last March.
It would have been easy for most defensive players to get lost in the mix in Baltimore on defenses that had stars like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Kruger reportedly felt disrespected when he wasn't on the field for more defensive downs in the Super Bowl. The number, still fresh in his mind, was 17.
"I don't know if disrespect is the right word or frustrated personally and without having to do with anybody else," Kruger said. "I'm a competitive guy and I want to be in for every play. To have limited reps in the biggest game of your life is tough. Anybody that didn't say that to you would be lying.
"I've had to have a chip on my shoulder since I came into the league. Pretty much everybody does. That's how football is played. You have to play tough and angry, especially on the defensive side of the ball."
Apparently Ravens coach John Harbaugh is aware of Kruger's dissatisfaction.
"I've read most of those quotes," Harbaugh said. "I guess it's how you portray it. I thought the quotes were fine. Paul and I have had many conversations the last four years along that line. I'm proud of his development as a player and what he's been able to do and accomplish.
"I feel like we were a part of helping him become the player he is now and happy for him now. I think any player should be motivated. They should want to be on the field as much as possible. Paul had his best year (in 2012), but he was always building toward that year. He was a big part of our success."
Kruger was asked if he wants to go over there (Baltimore) and tear someone's head off.
"Absolutely," he said. "That's the goal every week."