Tue, 19 Jan 2021

Steelers LB Dupree (knee) to miss rest of season

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2020, 04:55 GMT+10

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The NFL Network reported earlier on Thursday an MRI confirmed that Dupree suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in the Steelers' 19-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens

"You can characterize it as official that Bud is out for the year with a significant knee injury," Tomlin said a few hours later.

The noncontact injury occurred in the second half of Wednesday afternoon's game in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers used their franchise tag this season on Dupree, who is earning $15.8 million. He becomes the second Pittsburgh linebacker to be lost to a torn ACL, following Devin Bush, who suffered the injury on Oct. 18 in a game against the Cleveland Browns.

Dupree, 27, emerged as a pass-rushing force last season with 11 1/2 sacks, and he had eight this season. He had two tackles for loss but no sacks on Wednesday.

The Kentucky product is in his sixth season, all with the Steelers, after he was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) in 2015.

In 81 games, 66 starts, he has 39 1/2 sacks, 231 tackles, 54 tackles for loss. He also has one interception, which he brought back for a touchdown in 2018, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Tomlin said he is "comfortable and confident" in rookie Alex Highsmith stepping up to fill in for Dupree on Monday when the Steelers (11-0) host the Washington Football Team (4-7).

"That's life in this business. Those guys work behind the scenes every day very diligently to prepare themselves for these opportunities, not only in terms of knowing what to do, but always preparing themselves in terms of conditioning when we ring their bell, and we are ringing Alex Highsmith's bell now," Tomlin said. "It'll be exciting to see him respond to it, but it will also be exciting to watch his growth because growth is associated with experience. And no doubt in coming weeks he will be gaining a lot of that."

Highsmith, 23, has recorded 20 tackles, one interception and one sack in 11 games since being selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

--Field Level Media

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