First 48: Steelers LB Bud Dupree returns to Wilkinson County
IRWINTON, GA -- Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Bud Dupree always gives back to his hometown. The NFL star returned to Irwinton Saturday for his annual First 48 Youth Football Camp at Wilkinson County High School teaching the game he loves to his community.
"It's all about fundamentals," Dupree said. "Do the right thing your coaches tell you and just going through the progressions of being a football player."
With over 130 kids in attendance, Dupree's presence shows kids that small-town dreams can turn into a reality.
"A lot of kids growing up from around here didn't get to see an NFL player or an NBA player or anybody famous of that nature," Dupree said. "Every chance I get I try and come home and do it for the kids."
The Wilkinson County alum is always looking for ways to improve football in the community. With NFL stars like Demaryius Thomas, Erik Walden, Kareem Jackson, and Darqueze Dennard hailing from the area, Dupree says it's time to join forces to teach football.
"I think it would be a good idea for all of us to come together and do a Middle Georgia camp," Dupree said. "Make it real big for the kids, make it real big for the communities around Middle Georgia. It would be a great place to do it. Making waves on something like that, I think it would be a great opportunity."
As he enters his fourth professional season, Dupree is emerging as one of the Steelers' top defensive players. After a disappointing end to 2016 with an AFC Championship Game loss to New England, Dupree says the Steel Curtain is ready to take a huge step forward.
"We had a great OTA's and we're looking forward to going to camp and put another level of expectations for ourselves in camp," Dupree said. "Go out and go hard, have fun, play fast, and play physical like we're used to playing. Everything will unfold and we'll be the best like we want to be."
In two seasons, Dupree has collected 8.5 sacks despite missing most of last year with a groin injury. Pittsburgh opens the regular season Sept. 10 at Cleveland.