NASHVILLE – This Bud's for … Tennessee.
The Titans on Friday officially landed one of the top pass rushers in free agency in former Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree when the two sides agreed to terms on a multi-year deal.
"Multiple teams were involved, but when my agent called me about the Titans, it just all made sense from the team standpoint really," Dupree said during a video conference call on Friday. "I wanted to be on a winning team and come in and be able to help out as much as I can. It all made sense to be a part of this organization.
"I am going to go out there and play with my hair on fire, and just try and get after the quarterback as much as I can."
Dupree, 28, recorded eight sacks in 11 games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. 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.
Dupree played under the franchise tag in Pittsburgh last season before he was lost for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL. He expects to be healthy, and back for the 2021 season.
"Definitely I am going to be ready on camp – I am going to be full speed in camp, full steam ahead, being back in the groove and just making sure I am healthy then," Dupree said. "But I'll be healthy way before camp and I'll be full speed training, and I am excited about the progress that I've made so far. I am going to make sure I am in the best tip-top shape when I get back.
"I am coming back stronger than ever. I want to continue developing my game, and keep my arrow pointing upward."
A first-round pick of the Steelers in the 2015 NFL Draft, Dupree should bolster the pass rush in Tennessee while playing opposite edge rusher Harold Landry and others on a defense that needs a jumpstart in 2021.
In addition to his eight sacks last season, Dupree also posted 31 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits for the Steelers.
In six seasons with the Steelers, Dupree 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.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Dupree played in 47 games at Kentucky (2011-14), starting 38. He finished with 247 tackles, 38.0 TFLs, 23.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles and ranked second in Wildcat history at the time he left Kentucky with 23.5 career sacks. Dupree finished in the top-10 in the SEC in quarterback sacks three straight years (2012-14) with the Wildcats.
Dupree, who was born and raised in Georgia, said he's excited to be back in the South, with the Titans.
"Kevin Byard, he does what he does – he's a great one," Dupree said. "(Jeffrey) Simmons, he's a young guy, but he is a tremendous player. There's a lot of other guys on the team making plays, and always in the mix, like (Jayon) Brown as well.
"I am excited to be a part of this team, with these guys coming in. I want to be the best I can be, not only for myself, but for them because they deserve it, and I feel like the team deserves it as well."
OLB Bud Dupree at Saint Thomas Sports Park signing with the Tennessee Titans. (Donald Page)
See the Top Images from DE Bud Dupree's six-year NFL Career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. (AP Images)