The team announced Sunday it placed linebacker Bud Dupree on the reserve/injured list to start the season. He missed all of the preseason.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Dupree is going to have surgery to fix a core muscle tear, per a source.
The Steelers waiting until after final cuts to place Dupree on IR list makes the linebacker eligible to be designated for return. Teams do not have to attach the designation in advance this season. If he's eventually designated to return, Dupree would be eligible to practice after six weeks and return to game action after eight weeks. That the Steelers waited suggests they believe he can return this season.
The No. 22 overall pick in 2015, Dupree was set for a massive role in 2016. The Steelers brought along the outside linebacker slowly last season but planned to unleash him in his second year. Dupree ended last season with four sacks and 26 tackles in 16 games, with five starts.
Pittsburgh's pass rush has been stagnant for years, with zero players recording 10 or more sacks since 2010. Dupree was supposed to challenge to break that streak. Linebackers coach Joey Porter cooed this offseason saying Dupree could reach double-digit sacks.
That goal is all but gone, even if Dupree does return in 2016.
Without Dupree, fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones will be leaned on heavily. Jones has been a huge disappointment, but we've seen players blow up in contract seasons before.
With one of the weakest secondaries in the NFL, Pittsburgh was counting on its front seven to disrupt passers. Without Dupree for at least the start of the season, that job is going to be more difficult.
Here are some other players who were placed on injured reserve Sunday: