Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker Bud Dupree is giving a firsthand account into what it's like to play during the pandemic ... telling TMZ Sports his life really consists of 2 things right now -- "go to practice and go home."
The NFL was hit with its first COVID outbreak following Week 3 ... with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots reporting positive tests within their organizations.
Dupree -- who had an unexpected week off when the Steelers' matchup with the Titans was pushed to later in the season -- says his team is being EXTRA cautious to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to them.
"We try to stay away as much as possible just so we won't be on that end of the stick," the 27-year-old tells us. "We don't wanna be the ones who are holding the game up."
Dupree -- a 1st-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft -- points out the league's strict guidelines have essentially prevented him from doing anything other than reconnecting with family at home during his bye week ... or he'd face a fine.
As for switching gears from preparing for the Titans to getting ready for the Philadelphia Eagles this week ... Dupree says Coach Mike Tomlin makes it easy.
"With a coach like Tomlin, anytime adversity hit, he already got us coded to just keep going," he says.
"Live in the moment, be ready for whatever, just keep the punches going. He does a great job of preparing us for the moments even throughout training camp."
"We knew something like this would happen so we was already prepared for it."