According to initial tests, Bud Dupree, the Pittsburgh Steelers' veteran outside linebacker, suffered a torn ACL during Pittsburgh's 19-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Aditi Kinkhabwala. Dupree walked off under his own power and headed towards the locker room with about five minutes remaining in Wednesday's game. During his weekly press conference, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Dupree has suffered a "significant knee injury" and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2015 draft, Dupree is playing under a franchise tag that is paying him $15.8 million for the 2020 season. After recording 20 sacks in his first 54 regular season games, Dupree has tallied 19.5 sacks since the start of the 2019 season. Dupree is currently second on the Steelers with eight sacks just one year after finishing with a career-high 11.5 sacks. Over the past two seasons, Dupree and fellow outside linebacker T.J. Watt have recorded a combined 45 sacks while helping Pittsburgh record a sack in 68 straight games, the second-longest stretch in NFL history.
Dupree's play has been one of the reasons why the Steelers' defense entered Wednesday's game first in the NFL in scoring, sacks and turnovers forced. Dupree is slated to become a free agent this offseason if he and the Steelers cannot come to terms on a long-term deal before the start of the league's new year. Dupree, who played under his fifth-year option in 2019, was slated to become a free agent last year before signing his franchise tag.
"He is a priority for us," Tomlin said of Dupree at the start of the 2020 offseason. "Make no mistake, Bud Dupree is a priority for us."
Three-year veteran Ola Adeniyi and rookie Alex Highsmith are slated to replace Dupree in the starting lineup. Dupree would be the second starter from Pittsburgh's defense to suffer a season-ending injury. The Steelers lost inside linebacker Devin Bush, the 10th overall pick in the 2019 draft, back in Week 5. The Steelers replaced Bush with Robert Spillane while trading with the Jets to acquire veteran Avery Williamson.