Nov. 21, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Paul Krause picked off a pass on the first play of the first exhibition football game he played.
His knack for interceptions continued throughout his 16-year NFL career that concluded in 1979. Krause intercepted two passes in his first official NFL game against Cleveland and holds the NFL record with 81 career interceptions.
“I have done something nobody else has done,” said Krause, who lettered at the University of Iowa from 1961-63. “I feel it was God-given ability. A guy can’t say I’m going to break this record or I’m going to be a Hall of Famer. That is not possible.”
Krause returned to his alma mater Friday and addressed the Hawkeye football team following walk-through in the Indoor Football Practice Facility. Krause is honorary captain for the Iowa-Wisconsin game that kicks off Saturday at 2:33 p.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.
Krause was all-state in football, basketball, track, and baseball at Bendle High School in Burton, Michigan. He had no interest in attending in-state schools Michigan or Michigan State. Krause thought about going to Florida State to play football and baseball, until a friend of UI head coach Jerry Burns heard the news.
“Burnsy talked to me and when I came out for my visit, there was no other school I wanted to go to,” Krause said. “At that time Iowa was the No. 1 team in the nation, so that helped.”
In three seasons with Krause in the lineup, Iowa compiled a record of 12-12-2. His final game against Notre Dame was canceled because of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Facilities have improved in the 51 years since Krause last set foot in Kinnick Stadium (known as Iowa Stadium until 1972).
“I was a different type of athlete. I never got myself way up or way down. I stayed on that same keel all the time. I knew my job and I knew I had to do my job and whatever came from that, whether it was something extra or not, you have to do your own job first. If you don’t do that, you’re going to be in trouble.”
NFL Hall of Famer
“We used to scrimmage inside the old Field House in the dirt,” Krause said. “That’s where we worked in the winter time. There is a lot of difference, and they need (these new facilities) so they can keep up with the recruitment of the good players. The good players want things like this.”
Krause was a two-way player for the Hawkeyes at wide receiver and defensive back. He also played baseball and turned down a chance to play professionally. Krause did not reject his professional football opportunity.
He was selected in the second round (18th overall) in the 1964 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. After the 1967 season — and still considered one of the worst personnel moves in Redskins history — Krause was traded to Minnesota for linebacker Marlin McKeever and a draft choice. Krause played his final 12 seasons with the Vikings and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. He played in the Super Bowl in 1970, 1974, 1975, and 1977.
The 81 interceptions by Krause is two more than Emlen Tunnell had from 1948-61.
“I can’t tell you why, I can’t tell you how,” Krause said. “It takes a sixth sense when to go for an interception or when to bat it down. You have to know how fast you are, how high you can jump, and you have to know the angles — in a split second. It just happens.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz has tried for a couple years to have Krause come from his Lakeville, Minnesota, home to serve as honorary captain. The time was right — and just in time for a big Big Ten Conference game. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten West with a record of 8-2 overall, 5-1 in the conference; Iowa is a game behind at 7-3, 4-2.
Krause shared his strategy for getting ready for big games:
“I was a different type of athlete. I never got myself way up or way down. I stayed on that same keel all the time,” he said. “I knew my job and I knew I had to do my job and whatever came from that, whether it was something extra or not, you have to do your own job first. If you don’t do that, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Krause will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.
“I hope we can beat the old Badgers,” Krause said.