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Steelers' Bud Dupree says he hit the rookie wall in '15

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Bud Dupree started seven of the Pittsburgh Steelers' final eight games last season -- including two in the playoffs -- but his production slipped down the stretch.

The rookie outside linebacker earned four sacks in his first eight games, but had zero the rest of the way.

Dupree admitted he hit the proverbial rookie wall in his first NFL season.

"I just was not being used to playing that many games," Dupree said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It took a toll on my body. Now I'm more prepared for that. I've been training longer, doing different things that I didn't have the time to do coming from college. Just a lot of little minor things you need to do, just looking at guys like James Harrison, guys who really take care of their body, following their lead."

Harrison is famous for his ridiculous workouts that keep his 38-year-old body sculpted. The veteran's work ethic rubbing off on the 2015 first-round pick is an added benefit of keeping the ageless wonder around.

Dupree is expected to split reps with Arthur Moats, but the Steelers are counting on the second-year linebacker making a leap in 2016.

"Just like all my young guys, I want to see them get a little better than what they were a year ago," outside linebacker's coach Joey Porter said. "He has had time to look at the stuff he did last year, and he can judge himself where he is now. I catch him out there helping the young guys and the new guys to the defense. He said, 'I never thought I would be able to help somebody.' But that shows you how far along he has come with this defense. He feels comfortable enough to give the other guys some knowledge of the game. That's a beautiful thing that shows his growth."

Pittsburgh hopes comfort level and a revamped workout regiment will boost Dupree's play over the course of 16 games. The Steelers have lacked a young, disruptive pass rusher for years. With Jarvis Jones appearing on his way out, Pittsburgh's brass badly needs Dupree to become that quarterback hassler.

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