The Pittsburgh Steelers had an eventful Monday on the defensive side of the football when it comes to scheduled unrestricted free agent as it included them retaining cornerback Cameron Sutton but losing outside linebacker Bud Dupree. Sutton was a quest Tuesday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio and during his interview he made it known how excited he is to be back with the Steelers and that he’s equally happy to see Dupree cash in with the Tennessee Titans as well.
“Well, first of all, with Bud, I’m extremely happy for Bud,” Sutton said. “I’m overly happy for Bud. Just the person that he is. Like I said, he’s another one that has that same energy, that same approach. He’s a great person. He’s a people person and a person that you always want to be around and he’s very uplifting. His spirit, everything about him, it’s all positive. And just for him to reap the benefits of all the work that he’s put in and just everything, all the adversity that he’s been through, I’m very excited to see the deal that he was able to come out with him and everything that’s going to come from it.”
With Dupree exiting now via free agency, the Steelers will expect second year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith to fill those big shoes that the former first-round draft pick has left behind. Sutton talked some about Highsmith on Tuesday and how he looks forward to watching him take the next step in his career after a promising rookie season in 2020.
“Alex is my boy,” Sutton said of Highsmith. “Coming in, you know, real quiet guy, but like I said, always willing to work, always ready to work. Just a guy that loves football and wants to be around football, is always wanting to be around football and he’s coachable, you know what I mean? “Not saying coachable, but as a person, when you’re able to relate to a person and gravitate to people, it makes the job fun. It makes everything much more fun. It makes it much more relaxed, more at ease and within what you do. And that brings fluidity. And that brings smoothness in your game.”
Sutton went on to say how Highsmith has been reminded he belongs in the Steelers defense and how the unit has confidence in the third-round draft pick out of Charlotte moving forward into 2021.
“And just around him, just bringing that comfortability around him, knowing him, reminding him, and pushing him, telling him that he belongs,” Sutton said. You know what I mean? Just that confidence behind you that knowing that your teammates, the people to your left and to your right out there have that same confidence in you, the same way that they had the same confidence in you as well.”
While Highsmith was mostly brought along slowly in his rookie season, he did play some on defense right out of the chute and showed progress along the way. He was forced into starting at right outside linebacker later during the regular season after Dupree went down injured with his torn ACL. While there were some growing pains for Highsmith later in his rookie season, overall, he showed promise that he can be the next Steelers outside linebacker to become a double-digit sack-getter and solid run stopper.
“I’m really excited for him,” Sutton said of Highsmith.