BravNASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Earth didn’t split in two and there were no lightning strikes when Bud Dupree spoke candidly about what’s unfolded for him through five weeks of the NFL season attempting to return from ACL repair surgery on his right knee.

He tore it playing for Pittsburgh against the Ravens on Dec. 2, 2020.

DupreeDP

Pool photo/ Donald Page/ Tennessee Titans

It was the sort of candor that was informative about a guy’s body and process, giving away no state secrets that will lead to the undoing of his new team’s season but granting fans some actual insight into why the high-dollar investment was a shell of himself in the two games he played and has been absent from the field on two Sundays since. [Unlocked]

“For me, it’s my mind being ahead of my body,” Dupree said, leaning along the rail that keeps players and media six feet apart to abide by the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols. “You’ve got to let things like that kind of heal. And I rushed it, kind of let my pride get in the way. I should have waited a little longer. I was so eager to get on the field for my new team, new city, new fans, try to make my place with the players."

While the Titans wait on Dupree, it's not a grand plan that is bailing them out, but good luck.

Special team signee Ola Adeniyi has picked up a lot of the pass-rush slack and been a real find.

Shane Bowen gave a pretty standard review of where Dupree stands. 

"He's competitive, he's frustrated," Bowen said. "It's part of it. Any time a guy's missing time, he's going to be frustrated. But I think he's handled it like a pro. He's been engaged, understands what we're doing.

"I think he's been good in the room with the other guys with the unit just in terms of getting them up to speed, helping those guys out who had to step up and fill those roles whoever it might be. We'll kind of see where the wee goes if (Mike) Vrabel will get him out there."

Other players around the league who suffered torn ACLs much earlier in the 2020 season have come back in recent weeks, Dupree pointed out, while he took the field on opening day.

At 6-foot-4, 269 pounds, quickly changing directions is the key to his game. He’s not been able to do that the way he’s used to, which has left him a different and ineffective player.

Everyone is telling him to take his time and make sure he's 100 percent ready to go, he said.

He pointed to a longer season and a bigger playoff field with an extra game and reasons to be patient now.

"It was my choice to go out on the field, it was my mistake," Dupree said. "I've got to be as smart as I can because it's a long season and I need to be on the field. I'm just trying to get back on the field as quick as I can now.

"It's Week Five, we've got 17. I'm just trying to make sure I'm available for the (whole) stretch when this team is needing me and not have any setbacks on the field, any injuries, not limping at all. "

So what's the timetable now?

Dupree said not to count him out this week.

But it certainly seems unlikely that a player who was limited in Wednesday's practice can get to where he needs to be in a few more days and can then carry that over long-term.

It's not going to be complicated for him to know when he's ready.

Bravo to Dupree for the candor. This was a sensible way to have an injury discussion that others would be wise to follow.

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