Tuesday, September 22, 2020

TROPHY CASE: Karl Klug, once a Warrior always a Warrior


Karl Klug was an All-State football player at Caledonia, an All-Big Ten selection at Iowa and had a seven-year career in the NFL. He coaches high school football in Tennessee these days, but his heart remains in Caledonia.


Written By: Isaac Trotter | Sep 20th 2020 - 11am.

Caledonia’s Karl Klug sheds two defenders and runs for a 33-yard touchdown during a Class AA state semifinal football game against Hawley at the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Nov. 19, 2005. (Post-Bulletin file photo)


Karl Klug dedicated his entire life to football.

That’s what mattered most above almost everything else. Klug's dedication certainly paid off.

The Caledonia High School graduate and All-State football player went on to have a standout, All-Big Ten career at Iowa and then scrapped his way to a seven-year career with the Tennessee Titans (2011-17).

In the seven years, Klug missed just three total games. He was a warrior and a lynchpin of the Titans’ defensive line.

But life for Klug looks a little different now that the veteran is three years removed from football. He’s still around the game, he's just giving the orders now instead of executing them. Currently, Klug is coaching the defensive line at Page High School in Franklin, Tennessee.

Tennessee Titans defensive end Karl Klug sacks Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles during a game in 2014. (File photo)

Klug is also coaching his kids in 8U baseball and 6U softball. He might be the biggest 6U softball coach around.

“The biggest thing about 6U is that you’re trying to get them to quit playing in the sand,” Klug said with a laugh.

It’s sort of a transition season for Klug.

He’s found a rewarding side job helping out in a special needs program.

“These are kids who have graduated and we’re trying to get them ready for the real world,” Klug said. “They go to stores and stock shelves. They need someone to care for them. What the heck am I going to do with my life? I’m dabbling with a few things and seeing what I liked. I enjoy working with them. They’re just big kids.”

Even though Klug is more than 700 miles away, he still keeps close tabs on Caledonia athletics.

He thought Owen King had the potential to be an NFL quarterback one day with the right development. Eli King’s jaw-dropping highlight reel has Klug thinking that he could do something special, too.

“I’ve seen Eli King’s film and holy Toledo,” Klug said. “Holy smokes. His athletic ability speaks for himself. I feel like I don’t really have to dress it (up) because he’s just so special. His work ethic is off the charts, based off what I’m told. The great thing I hear about those boys is that they’re always humble. The few times I’ve been around them, they seem like just great standup dudes.”

Klug knows how stressful the recruiting process can be, but he’s given King some space to make the tough choice on his own. But he certainly wouldn’t hate for King to pick the Hawkeyes –– a school that’s offered King for both basketball and football.

"I talked to his dad about a month ago and told him, ‘You’ve been through this process before, but if you have any questions, just holler,’” Klug said. “I just want to let him enjoy his recruiting process and stay out of it. I know he’ll make an educated, wise decision.”

Klug is healthy, rested and happy in Tennessee. But his heart remains in Caledonia.

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