Friday, December 19, 2014

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Austin is home to many promising high school, amateur and professional athletes. YNN profiles one athlete weekly, including a behind-the-scenes look at their path to success in Athlete of the Week. Catch it on Mondays and Saturdays.

Leander High graduate finds success in AFL

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TWC News: Leander High graduate finds success in AFL
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The Austin Wranglers are off to a 4-0 start and are the only undefeated team in the Arena Football League.

If three's a charm, then this could be the breakout year fullback Dane Krager has been dreaming of. The past three seasons have been more like a fairy tale for the Leander High graduate.

"I had faced the fact that football was almost over for me. I was ready to give it up and move on with the rest of my life. The opportunities that unfolded for me were just a Godsend," Krager said.

Krager's football career has taken him all over the world. He played in Germany for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. He also had a brief stint in the NFL for both Seattle and Minnesota. But it's the Austin Wranglers that gave him a chance three years ago, and he flourished under head coach Skip Foster's system.

"I personally think Dane Krager's one of the most successful stories in the AFL over the past three years. Coming in, starting for basically three full years, doing a great job, and stepping up this year and taking up his level of play. In my opinion he's one of the best fullbacks in the Arena Football League," Foster said.

Krager's three-touchdown performance against Arizona was a first for him. He’s spent most of his football career on the defensive side of the ball. He still holds the Leander High School record for tackles in a game with 24. But the former linebacker enjoys scoring touchdowns the most.

"On offense, I've never run the ball before arena football. I just think it's a wonderful thing to give the defensive guy a ball because he's been dreaming about it since he's been playing defense. Just having the ball, scoring a touchdown and having the fans go wild," he said.

Krager has even played a stunt double role in the 2005 movie The Longest Yard. He played former Denver Bronco Bill Romanowski in the football scenes, a task that's harder than it looks.

"Whenever you're gonna be a stunt double for somebody, you have to study the way they move. I sat there and watched the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he ran," Krager said.

Krager is used to an audience. His family and friends sit in section 34 at home games at Erwin Center.

The Austin Wranglers travel to Tampa this weekend to play the Storm. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP