While he had hoped to be full go by the start of a training camp, Bud Dupree was placed on the Titans‘ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. The Titans also placed cornerback and first-round pick Caleb Farley on their Non-Football Injury list. Farley is recovering from a back surgery performed in March.
One of the offseason’s biggest free agent acquisitions, Dupree inked a five-year deal worth $82.5 million deal on March 15. The 22nd overall pick in the 2015 draft, Dupree racked up 19.5 sacks during his final 25 games with the Steelers, who moved him from left to right outside linebacker before the start of the 2018 season. Dupree recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2019 and had eight sacks in 11 games in 2020 before a torn ACL abruptly ended his season. Pittsburgh went 1-5 without Dupree after going 11-0 with him in the starting lineup.
Dupree said on multiple occasions that his goal was to be on the field when the Titans kicked off training camp July 28. As expected, Dupree did not take part in the team’s OTAs outside of rehab work on his surgically repaired right knee. The Titans have not put a timetable on his return. Tennessee’s Week 1 matchup with the Cardinals will take place just nine months following Dupree’s surgery.
“Just training hard every day right now, man,” Dupree said on “Good Morning Football” late last month. “ACL recovery, rehab has been one of the most progress things I’ve dealt with so far. Each week you see different levels of progress. You see different things changing about it. I’m working hard to be back as soon as I can, but it’s up to the coaching staff at the end of the day, like when they want me to be on the field and how comfortable they feel with me coming off the injury.”
Whenever he is able to get back on the field, Dupree said that he wants his impact to be more than simply adding a pass rush to a Titans defense that was tied for 28th in the league in sacks in 2020. Along with his impressive sack total, Dupree had 54 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his years with the Steelers.
“You don’t just come in just to be a one-trick pony and just do pass rush,” Dupree said. “You’ve got to be able to be a tone-setter on the edge as well, swarming to the ball, stopping the run, evolving your teammates, getting everybody hyped up. That’s what it is, man. That excites everybody around you, and that’s a big part of the game, in today’s game, especially. We’ve got to go out and be tough, tough as nails, go out there and just play to our best ability.”