The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that former Kentucky star Bud Dupree was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sunday. The linebacker, who has been slowed by a groin injury, has not played during the preseason.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Dupree is having surgery “to fix a core muscle tear,” according to his sources.
If the surgery goes well, it is possible that Dupree can still play this season.
“The Steelers waiting until after final cuts to place Dupree on IR list makes the linebacker eligible to be designated for return,” NFL.com reported. “Teams do not have to attach the designation in advance this season. If he’s eventually designated to return, Dupree would be eligible to practice after six weeks and return to game action after eight weeks. That the Steelers waited suggests they believe he can return this season.”
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Dupree told ESPN, in a report on Aug. 23, that he had suffered setbacks during the preseason.
“I keep trying to go out there too quickly,” Dupree said. “I can’t be a speed dude and look slow. I can’t be a non-explosive guy when everybody knows I’m explosive. That’s got to be (a departure) from why the Steelers picked me.”
Dupree, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2015, played in all 16 games last season, starting five of them. Dupree finished the season with 26 tackles, 17 of them solo stops.
Dupree had an immediate impact last season, recording a sack of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in his first game. The following week against the 49ers he became the first Steelers’ rookie to have sacks in back-to-back games since 2007.
The team signed linebacker Steven Johnson to take Dupree’s spot on the roster. Johnson signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason from the Tennessee Titans, and was released on Saturday when the team had to get down to the mandatory 53-man roster.
Johnson was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos in 2012, and spent his first three seasons with the Broncos. He played in 57 games during his career with a total of seven starts, and has played in five postseason games with one start.