Bud Dupree played a role in helping Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith get comfortable as a professional. Having played his best season in black and gold this past year, Highsmith would welcome a Dupree return.
“If it were to happen, that would definitely be a three-headed monster, for sure,” Highsmith said on a recent episode of the House of Yinzer Podcast. “When he was here, my locker was actually right next to his, so that was pretty cool. Him and T.J., both of them were just very helpful in bringing me up my rookie year and just helping me to get better.”
Bud Dupree spent six go-rounds in Pittsburgh, totaling 39.5 sacks. His best season in that sense came in 2019 when he got to the quarterback 11.5 times. He was franchise-tagged the following spring before the Steelers took Highsmith in the third round.
Dupree tore his ACL 11 games into the 2020 campaign and left to take a five-year, $85 million deal with the Tennessee Titans. Highsmith has started each game for the Steelers since Dupree went down and had 14.5 sacks a season ago.
“Even when he went down my rookie year with his injury, he was still encouraging me and telling me things in meetings and stuff like that,” Highsmith said.
Dupree was hampered by injuries and inconsistent performances during his time in Nashville. He only notched seven sacks in 22 contests and was recently cut loose to free up cap.
Highsmith’s 2022 effort was key for the Steelers as Watt missed two months’ worth of time with an injury suffered in the team’s regular-season opener. For Highsmith, it wasn’t as much about him proving himself as it was keeping steady.
“For me, I was just trying to be my best self,” Highsmith said. “I didn’t feel any added pressure or anything like that. I just wanted to keep doing what I was doing and just continue to put my best foot forward every game.”
Pittsburgh will have some choices to make in the upcoming weeks, but it’s apparent Highsmith would be happy to play with his former teammate again.