Steelers notebook: Dupree activated; Heyward, Wheaton placed on injured reserve
Linebacker Bud Dupree's long-awaited return could come Sunday for the Steelers.
Dupree, the team's first-round pick in 2015, was activated from injured reserve Saturday as the Steelers made two additions to the 53-man roster. Running back Daryl Richardson was promoted from the practice squad.
To make room for Dupree and Richardson on the roster, the Steelers placed defensive end Cameron Heyward and wide receiver Markus Wheaton on season-ending injured reserve.
Dupree was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season with a sports hernia. He was designated to return two weeks ago when he began practicing and is expected to be active Sunday when the Steelers play at the Cleveland Browns.
Dupree started five games as a rookie and had 26 tackles and four sacks. His return could boost a pass rush that has totaled 13 sacks, the fewest in the NFL. Without Dupree, the Steelers rotated Jarvis Jones and Anthony Chickillo with James Harrison and Arthur Moats the past four weeks. But Harrison replaced Jones on the first team this week in practice.
Heyward was injured early in the Steelers' 35-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday and had surgery this week for a torn pectoral muscle. He leads the Steelers with three sacks.
Wheaton missed the previous four games and six of nine this season with a shoulder injury. Wheaton, in the final year of his contract, had just four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Richardson gives the Steelers depth at running back with backup DeAngelo Williams missing his second consecutive game with a knee injury.
For the third consecutive road game, the Steelers will be playing a team with a losing record: the 0-10 Browns. As has been well-documented, the Steelers are 5-12 against such teams since the start of the 2012 season, a streak that began with a 20-14 loss in Cleveland in 2012.
Guard Ramon Foster is at a loss for an explanation.
“I don't know if it's the mood, the weather, the wind or whatever,” Foster said. “Hopefully, we turn over a new leaf and get it going.”
The other guys
In his first season as Browns coach, Hue Jackson has watched the Cavaliers win the NBA title and the Indians play in the World Series.
Has that added pressure to the Browns' winless start?
“We want to win and want to be talked about in the conversation with those teams,” he said. “We'd like to get our name thrust over there in time, but we know it's going to take a little bit. We'll get there.”
If he remains healthy the rest of the year, veteran linebacker Jamie Collins will have the rare distinction of playing against one team three times in a regular season.
Collins had eight tackles for the New England Patriots in their 27-16 win over the Steelers on Oct. 23. Collins, an impending free agent, then was unexpectedly traded to the Browns, who will face the Steelers on Sunday and again Jan. 1, 2017.
“Every week he's getting more comfortable with the coaching staff and players,” Jackson said. “We're glad he's here.”