Edge Rusher Bud Dupree All Smiles After First Practice With Titans

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NASHVILLE – In the grand scheme of things, it was just one practice.

But for Titans edge rusher Bud Dupree, it was a start.

"Everybody said: Welcome back," Dupree said after his first practice with the Titans on Friday. "(My teammates are) excited, just like I am excited. I haven't played football since December, so it is exciting for me just to be able to do the things I am doing right now. It is fun. I love this game, and I am excited to be on the Titans."

Dupree, signed back in March, practiced for the first time – on the team's eighth practice of training camp – after being taken off the team's Physically Unable to Perform list earlier in the day.

Decked out in No.48, with red socks, red gloves, and a red sleeve on his right arm, Dupree went through individual drills, and he worked in other periods as well. Dupree said coaches and trainers are deciding on how much he does as he works his way back from the torn ACL he suffered last season while with the Steelers.

It was a different look for Dupree, who wore black and gold with the Steelers since being drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

"It' different, but it's fun," said Dupree, who started 66 games and he posted 39.5 sacks, 231 tackles, 54 tackles for loss, an interception return for a touchdown and 65 quarterback hits in six seasons in Pittsburgh. "Change of color doesn't mean anything. You just have to go out there and embrace your new atmosphere, embrace your new team and put everything else behind you."

Dupree, 28, recorded eight sacks in 11 games in 2020 before suffering the season-ending knee injury and he also posted 31 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits.

Dupree posted a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2019 with 17 quarterback hits and 16 tackles for loss. Dupree's 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons rank eighth and his six strip sacks rank fourth in the NFL since 2019.

During the offseason, Dupree rehabbed in both Arizona and Atlanta, and also in Nashville. The Titans placed him on PUP at the start of camp, and he's spent the past 10 days working inside and outside at Saint Thomas Sports Park with trainers, while attending meetings.

As Dupree edges closer to being 100 percent, he knows the biggest question centering him now is: Will he be ready for Week 1?

"God willing, I am," Dupree said with a smile. "I am working hard to be able to be in a position to play whenever they need me to play. If they want me to play Week 1, if they want me to play Week 2, if they want me to play Week 3, 4, or 5, it doesn't matter. But I know mentally and physically I am going to be ready.

"So I am just going to put everything on them to allow me to know when I'll be suiting up."

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