It appeared Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree‘s season was over before it began when the team placed him on injured reserve Sept. 4. Fortunately, Dupree’s recovery from core muscle tear surgery went so well that the Steelers designated him to return from IR on Wednesday, per Ralph N. Pauk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The club now has a 21-day window to activate Dupree, who is aiming to make his 2016 debut Nov. 20 in Cleveland.
In Dupree, Pittsburgh will welcome back its 2015 first-round pick, a player who amassed 26 tackles and four sacks in 16 games (five starts) as a rookie. The former Kentucky standout’s presence should aid a defense that ranks a below-average 19th in both DVOA and yardage allowed. Pittsburgh has also struggled getting to the quarterback, having amassed an NFL-worst 11 sacks to go with 48 hurries (18th), which has contributed to its underwhelming 4-4 record. During their three-game losing streak, the Steelers have taken down opposing passers a mere three times. Each of those sacks came in their 21-14 loss to AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday.
Given that teams can only bring one player off IR, Dupree’s designation means the 2016 season has officially ended for two other Pittsburgh notables – offensive tackle Ryan Harris and cornerback Senquez Golson – as Paulk notes. Harris and Golson landed on IR prior to Week 5.
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