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Former Steelers OLB Bud Dupree Says Knee Bothered Him Most Of 2021 Season

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a enterprise resolution final offseason, permitting OLB Bud Dupree to stroll by way of free company. Dupree spent six seasons in Pittsburgh after being chosen within the first spherical by the Steelers in 2015, experiencing up-and-down play to start his NFL profession as a consequence of quite a few accidents in addition to wanted improvement from the school to the skilled recreation. However, after Pittsburgh picked up Dupree’s fifth-year possibility in 2019, his manufacturing on the sector spiked to the tune of 16 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, and 4 compelled fumbles. Dupree’s breakout season prompted Pittsburgh to make use of the franchise tag on Dupree for the 2020 season, bringing him again for yet another yr.

However, whereas Dupree was off to a powerful begin in 2020 with eight TFLs, eight sacks, and two compelled fumbles in 11 video games, he suffered a torn ACL in a Week 12 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, bringing his season to an finish when Pittsburgh was driving a scorching 11-0 begin within the 2020 marketing campaign. The Steelers had been offered a tough resolution that offseason, having the wage cap lowered because of the pandemic, thus limiting the power for them to retain their very own free brokers. Along with the lowered wage cap, additionally they had then second-year OLB Alex Highsmith ready within the wings who performs admirably rather than Dupree when he went down with the harm.

Pittsburgh opted to let Dupree check free company and use what cap {dollars} they did have on retaining free brokers at different positions, having to make use of void yr offers to make the cap work. Dupree ended up coming to phrases with the Tennessee Titans on a five-year deal value $82.5 million with $35 million assured, being solely three months faraway from ACL surgical procedure.

However, in accordance with Titans Senior Writer Jim Wyatt who spoke with Dupree after a mandatory minicamp practice, Dupree didn’t actually start to really feel like himself till the staff’s playoff recreation in opposition to the Bengals the place he recorded two tackles, one TFL, and one sack.

“I feel like the knee is all the way back,” Dupree informed Wyatt after minicamp apply. “All I need to do is stay on top of it and maintain. But it feels way different. It feels way better. Your mind is telling you one thing, but your body is telling you another. My confidence is at a different level (now). And that’s what it takes to play the game, having confidence can help take things to a different level.”

As is usually the case with gamers coming off ACL tears, the season instantly following surgical procedure tends to be one the place the participant should work again steadily, not typically feeling like oneself till the second-year post-surgery. That seems to be the case right here with Dupree who performed in solely 11 video games in his first season as a Titan, lacking time early within the season as he rehabbed his knee whereas additionally struggling an stomach harm that landed him on injured reserve up till Tennessee’s matchup in opposition to the Steelers in Week 15, the place Dupree would play 59% of the snaps in a 19-13 loss to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh would have cherished to re-signed Dupree after the 2020 season, however that they had a succession plan in place with Alex Highsmith, who loved a powerful 2021 season in his personal proper. HC Mike Tomlin referenced Highsmith because the “lynchpin” to switch him given the expectations for his development from his rookie season to Year Two in Pittsburgh. Highsmith delivered for the Steelers as referenced in a movie room under I performed on Highsmith’s 2021 season, offering a disruptive working mate reverse DPOY T.J. Watt.

Film Room: Alex Highsmith Poised For Big Leap In 2022

I personally wished to see Pittsburgh retain Dupree after the 2020 season, even regardless of the knee harm. However, Pittsburgh made the logical enterprise resolution, letting Dupree stroll and betting on the expertise that they had in-house with Highsmith who got here via and is ready up for a possible breakout season in 2022. Should have Pittsburgh re-signed Dupree, he possible would have been on-and-off the sector as he labored his approach again post-surgery, limiting his availability and effectiveness as was the case for Tennessee the place recorded 17 tackles, three sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and two tackles for a loss within the video games he did play.

In the tip, I want nothing however the perfect for Dupree now with the Titans as he enters the 2022 season hopefully absolutely recovered from the knee harm. For the Titans’ sake, it will be nice to see Dupree again to the extent of play he flashed with the Steelers in his final two seasons with the staff, being a disruptive drive each as a move rusher in addition to a run defender. Pittsburgh appears to be in place as nicely, with Alex Highsmith trying like a younger participant on the rise, able to take a leap in his third season.

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