Bud Dupree was expecting that fellow outside linebacker James Harrison would serve as a good example to him and Harrison’s other younger Pittsburgh Steelers teammates.
That never happened.
‘We really thought he would be just the role model to us’
Dupree found the person who ultimately became an unwelcome enough member of the team that the Steelers would release him, as they did Saturday. Wednesday, Harrison signed with the New England Patriots.
“We weren’t surprised about the just-let-him-go part, but we were the most surprised by the Patriots,” Dupree told Bob Papa and Ed McCaffrey on the Opening Drive. “We really thought that he would be just the role model to us. We really wanted it to happen. We like him as a person, but just as a player, we feel like he’s just all about himself.
‘It just hurt us for real’
“Basically, how we felt was we all were all just on the same page and it just hurt us for real. We looked at him as a real role model, as a real leader. He just never really gave it to us.”
Dupree and the rest of the Steelers realize they must move on from Harrison. Although their playoff status is set, they must focus their attention on avoiding becoming the only team to lose to the winless Cleveland Browns Sunday.
‘A lot of guys are out there trying to prove their point’
“We can’t go in thinking the team is going to lay down,” Dupree said. “They’ve got a new GM (John Dorsey), so a lot of guys are fighting for positions next year, fighting for spots on the roster. Because anyone who goes 0-15, they’re going to make a lot of changes, so a lot of guys are out there trying to prove their point.”
The Steelers suspect the Browns will make use of everything they have in their playbook.
‘We’re thinking there’s going to be reverses, trick plays, fake field goals, fake punts’
“We’re thinking college football,” Dupree said. “We’re thinking there’s going to be reverses, trick plays, fake field goals, fake punts. We’re all going to be on edge and there’s going to be great preparation for the playoffs because their guys are going to just come out and throw everything in the playbook they have. They’re not going to hold anything back.”