Woody Allen once said that if you want to make God laugh, you should tell him about your plans. That is to say, you can make plans all you want, but ultimately you only have so much control over whether or not that plan will actually come together the way it was intended.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree had big plans for his third season, and a big part of that plan was staying healthy. Then, he says, he ran into David DeCastro trying to execute a stunt during training camp and injured his shoulder. “I ran right into him”, he told Joe Rutter. “Perfect spot, perfect hit”.
Since then, he has been in and out of practice. Though he was good enough to go during the Steelers’ third preseason game, he was also expected to go for the previous game but, despite dressing, did not play.
There was concern over whether or not he would play during the season opener as well, but he told reporters he expected he would. “That was the plan going into the game”, said. He practiced on a limited basis last Thursday, but then finished out the week sitting out on Friday, and ultimately did not dress.
He said after Sunday’s game that he was told when he arrived at the facilities that he would not be playing. “I was sent to get a second opinion, and it was more than [we thought] it was”, he said. But he added, “next week I’ll be out there and deal with the pain”.
“I’m going to push the issue so I can play this week”.
While it would certainly be a boost to get him not only back in the lineup but also operating at full capacity, the Steelers managed to do well with Anthony Chickillo starting in his place. Drafted the same year as Dupree, only in the sixth round rather than the first, he recorded two sacks against the Browns for the first multi-sack game of his career.
During the first half of last season, Chickillo was rotating with Arthur Moats at the left outside linebacker position while Dupree was on injured reserve recovering from sports hernia surgery. After a few games, he passed Moats and ended up starting until Dupree was activated to the 53-man roster.
As well as he played in his first game of the 2017 season—and I know there is a not insignificant segment of the fan base that is still kind of pushing for him to be in the starting lineup—however, Dupree is going to be seen as ‘the guy’ until he shows that he is not.
That could come either through his on-field play or through his inability to stay on the field, both of which were issues for Jarvis Jones. Dupree is seeing his season impacted by injury before it even began for the second year in a row. How will he look when he does get on the field?