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Utah football 2014: Former star Joe Kruger claimed off waivers by Chargers

San Diego Chargers defensive end Joe Kruger of Utah.
San Diego Chargers defensive end Joe Kruger of Utah. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

A few days ago, former Utah Utes star Joe Kruger probably wondered if and when the phone would ring. He'd just been released by the Philadelphia Eagles in a somewhat surprising move that left him without a home.

On Wed. Aug. 27, three days after the Eagles bid adieu to Kruger, the San Diego Chargers--and former Utah star and current Chargers coach Mike McCoy--welcomed him home, in a matter of speaking. The Chargers claimed Kruger off of waivers to reportedly bolster a depleted defensive line.

Kruger joins other former Utes--such as McCoy--on the Chargers roster, one that still stands to release another 27 players before it reaches its 53-player limit for the season opener.

The first cuts happened later Wednesday, and fortunately for Kruger he was not on that list of five players released by the Chargers.

So in order for Kruger to now make the Chargers' roster, he will need to survive two more pre-season games--as well as cuts that will sacrifice 22 more players on San Diego's roster.

A seventh round draft pick out of Utah in 2013, Kruger's career has been on a steady decline since he left school early and the Eagles drafted him. He's obviously hoping for a better outcome in the sunny climes of San Diego, a place in temperature and scheme that couldn't be more different from Philly.

With the Eagles this pre-season, Kruger had just four tackles--one for a loss--and a blocked field goal in three games. With the Chargers, one local blogger suggests that Kruger is an ideal candidate to be a backup at left defensive end--perhaps opposite backup right end and former Ute Tenny Palepoi.

With just five defensive ends currently on the Chargers' depth chart, it's a position where Kruger could make a mark--and be the player many thought he would become, coming out of Utah as an all-Pac-12 selection.