Everyone wins with a Steelers, Bud Dupree reunion
By Austin Lloyd
Recent reports have claimed that the Pittsburgh Steelers are bringing in free agent linebacker Bud Dupree for a visit, and that should stand out to yinzers for all the right reasons.
Dupree is far from a stranger, having played for Pittsburgh from 2015 to 2021. In that span, he established his potential as a brutal pass-rusher and was even the face of some controversy by never being selected for the Pro Bowl.
Towards the end of his time with the organization, he and T.J. Watt formed one of the most aggressive defensive duos in the NFL. That was what made his eventual signing with the Tennessee Titans hurt the most.
With that said, the Steelers humoring the thought of scooping him up from the free agency market should come as a surprise to no one.
Simply put, this is the exact type of move that Pittsburgh would make. The franchise has developed quite the reputation for attempting to build its team chemistry with familiar faces (an admirable effort that I have often given it credit for). That’s not all that makes it a promising idea, though.
To me, this is a move that could not only benefit the Steelers, but also Dupree himself. The team chemistry would obviously be strong on his end as well, but the argument that he would be improving the quality of his team could also be made.
Last season, the Steelers finished 9-8 as members of the AFC North. As for the Titans, they finished 7-10 as members of the AFC South. In other words, Pittsburgh has managed to look better than Tennessee despite playing in a tougher division—and that goes without even mentioning the former having a better-looking quarterback situation today.
Steelers fans should want this move made more than anyone
That just leaves the fans, who the majority are probably hoping for a reunion between the Steelers and Dupree more than either party.
As I addressed earlier, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt formed an outstanding defensive duo in Pittsburgh, one so dangerous that Dupree failing to hit Pro Bowl status felt almost like a crime. Most fans would do anything to see that kind of pairing on the field again.
The only counterpoint to Dupree’s possible return would be his injury history, along with how that could harm his overall impact. However, I don’t feel that we should necessarily pull the plug on the idea solely because of that.
Think about it, if injury concerns are a dealbreaker even when approaching talents that we know the potential of, why do we look at Watt the way that we do? He’s had some injury concerns of his own.
The answer is elementary: We are still willing to treat him like one of our best players simply because, when he’s healthy, that’s exactly what he is. So, if a healthy Dupree can still be the player we once saw in Pittsburgh, the last thing any of us should do is turn him away.
In short, I’m all for the Steelers signing Bud Dupree simply because everybody wins. The Steelers get a familiar player, Dupree gets a familiar (and better) team, and fans get all the more hyped for what the future holds.