The timing of pass rusher Bud Dupree's torn ACL makes his recovery timetable iffy for the start of training camp in late July.
Dupree suffered the tear on Dec. 2, almost seven months ago. After signing in Tennessee as a free agent, he, predictably, didn't participate in the offseason program outside of rehab work.
The edge rusher dropped by NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday and said he's still working hard to be ready for the start of the season.
"Just training hard every day right now, man," Dupree said. "ACL recovery, rehab has been one of the most progress things I've dealt with so far. Each week you see different levels of progress. You see different things changing about it. I'm working hard to be back as soon as I can, but it's up to the coaching staff at the end of the day, like when they want me to be on the field and how comfortable they feel with me coming off the injury."
The Titans have refused to put a timetable on Dupree's recovery or even note whether he'll be ready for Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 12, just over nine months after he suffered the injury.
The Titans giving Dupree a five-year, $82.5 million contract in March, with the first two years basically guaranteed, suggests they were bullish on his recovery timetable. If the 28-year-old returns in the form we last saw him in Pittsburgh, it would be a massive boon for a Tennessee defense that struggled mightily to rush the passer last season.
Dupree said when he gets on the field, he plans on wreaking havoc in all phases.
"Anytime you get paid to pass rush, you go ahead and get sacks and make big plays in the run game, be an all-around player," he said. "You don't just come in just to be a one-trick pony and just do pass rush. You've got to be able to be a tone-setter on the edge, as well, swarming to the ball, stopping the run, evolving your teammates, getting everybody hyped up. That's what it is, man. That excites everybody around you, and that's a big part of the game, in today's game, especially. We've got to go out and be tough, tough as nails, go out there and just play to our best ability."
At this stage, it's unknown when Dupree will be cleared to return to the field. Whenever that occurs, Tennessee's defense will happily add a player with 19.5 sacks in his last 27 regular-season games.