The Titans activated outside linebacker Bud Dupree from injured reserve Saturday, one day before the Titans will face Dupree's former team: the Pittsburgh Steelers. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said earlier this week that Dupree could suit up Sunday pending his return to practice.
Dupree, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract this offseason, has been dealing with an abdominal injury that was sustained during the Titans' Week 10 win over the Saints. He has a 21-day window to practice with the team and will not count against Tennessee's 53-man roster until he is activated off of injured reserve. Dupree has played in just seven games this season, his first with the Titans after spending the first six seasons of his career with the Steelers.
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 acknowledged earlier this fall that he rushed back from his knee injury in order to be on the field for the start of the season. Dupree started in the Titans' first two games before not playing a snap during Tennessee's next two games. He played in the following four games before sustaining his abdominal injury. He has one sack, seven tackles and a forced fumble in seven games this season.
"You got to put your pride down, man," Dupree said of his injury situation, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Put your pride to the side and realize that it was my choice to go on the field. It was my mistake. And I've just got to be as smart as I can because it's a long season, and I need to be on the field when it counts."
Despite losing All-Pro running back Derrick Henry to an injury midway through the season, the Titans are 9-4 and in first place in the AFC South division. Tennessee can clinch the division with a win Sunday over the Steelers and a Patriots win over the Colts. But if the Titans win and the Colts are able to defeat the Patriots, Tennessee would move past New England and into the top spot in the AFC standings with three weeks to go in the regular season.