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Bud Dupree talks pressure surrounding his contract year

The Steelers linebacker is excited about the 2019 season, hopes to stay with the organization long term.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Bud Dupree spoke with members of the Pittsburgh media on Sunday before the team took the field for their first practice in pads. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Dupree was asked what it’s like playing in such a pivotal year.

“Yeah, it’s fun... I’m gonna play my best. I’m gonna do my best for them, and whatever happens, happens.”

Currently playing under his fifth-year option for 2019, Dupree could sign an extension before the regular season begins. Once Week 1 hits, the Steelers do not negotiate contracts with signed players. When asked if there were any discussions about a long-term deal with Steelers, Dupree didn’t seem concerned about the process.

“I don’t even ask my agent. I just want to go out and play to my best ability and have my best year yet.”

In order to work out a deal, it will take a desire for a continued relationship from both the player and the team. Dupree was asked if he sees himself signing with the Steelers long-term.

“I can. Definitely. I am a part of it. I love the organization.”

One of the biggest concerns with signing Dupree past the 2019 season are the large contracts edge rushers have been given lately across the NFL. This past offseason, five edge rushers were signed to contracts which each averaged more than $10 million a season. If the Steelers are going to invest significant capital in Dupree, they must make sure his production matches his monetary value. After seeing large contracts signed by other edge rushers this past offseason, Dupree was asked if it motivates him to perform.

“That just puts more fire up under you to go out and have a great year. You know, guys have their best years in a contract year.”

Regardless of which franchise Dupree will be playing with long term, 2019 appears to be the most important of his career. Although he has been a full-time starter the last two seasons, many believe Dupree has not lived up to his first-round draft status. Dupree offered up what he feels is necessary to have his best year in Pittsburgh.

“Confidence is the key. With yourself and with the team- the unit.”

Dupree’s entire media session can be seen in its entirety here: