Titans Make Decision on Former Steelers LB Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree

Justin Berl/Getty Images Bud Dupree at Heinz Field on October 28, 2019.

On Saturday November 20 the Tennessee Titans made a pair of roster moves involving former Pittsburgh Steelers players. Most notably, outside linebacker Bud Dupree was placed on injured reserve, having suffered an abdominal injury on the first snap of last Sunday’s contest against the New Orleans Saints. It’s the latest injury-related setback in a largely lost season for Dupree, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Titans in mid-March. It was a risky, high-stakes acquisition for Tennessee, considering that Dupree was only three-and-a-half months removed from a torn ACL suffered in a game against the Baltimore Ravens.

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Bud Dupree Started Training Camp on the PUP List

It was clear early on that Dupree wasn’t anywhere near full strength when training camp rolled around, as he started camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. His recovery progressed well enough that he played in Tennessee’s first two games, but he went on to miss the next three.

To date he has appeared in seven different contests (with two starts), but per Pro Football Reference (PFR) he has played just 277 total snaps and has only seven total tackles, with one sack, six quarterback hits and one forced fumble.

As a result of being placed on the Reserve/Injured list, Dupree will miss a minimum of three games (Houston, at New England, Jacksonville). He will be eligible to come off injured reserve in time to face his old team—in Pittsburgh—on Sunday December 19.

Ex-Steelers Linebacker Ola Adeniyi is Next Man Up

Meanwhile, the Titans are expected to turn to former Steelers linebacker Ola Adeniyi (as well as Derick Roberson) in Dupree’s absence. The Titans signed Adeniyi as a free agent just a few days after acquiring Dupree and he has been more productive at a fraction of the cost.

According to PFR, Adeniyi has played in all 10 of Tennessee’s games this season and has recorded 19 total tackles (12 solo), with 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss and one pass defensed. He was also very nearly the hero in Tennessee’s overtime win over Seattle, one of a number of ex-Steelers who have been key contributors for their current team, with former Steelers running back James Conner at the top of that list.

As for Saturday’s second roster move involving a former Steelers player, that concerned elevating cornerback Breon Borders from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster. Borders played a significant role for the Titans in 2020, rising up from the practice squad to starter, but his role has been diminished this year, in spite of having a strong training camp.

Thus far in 2021, he has appeared in nine games but has just five total tackles and two passes defensed. He was released by the Titans on November 9, 2021, but brought him back via the practice squad two days later. Borders is expected to play when the Titans host the Houston Texans on Sunday November 21.

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