PITTSBURGH (AP) The training wheels are off for Bud Dupree. Finally.
The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker heads into Sunday's game against the New York Giants without any limitations, ending a patience-testing stretch in which the 2015 first-round pick missed training camp then underwent sports hernia surgery before beginning the arduous process of getting back into what coach Mike Tomlin calls "football shape."
The initial step came against Cleveland two weeks ago, when Dupree made it on the field for a single snap. The next came on Thanksgiving in Indianapolis, where Dupree picked up his first two tackles in nearly 11 months in a 28-7 victory. Dupree was in the huddle for 20 plays against the Colts, enough to unleash weeks of pent up adrenaline. And almost enough for Dupree to start lobbying defensive coordinator Keith Butler and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter for more playing time.