Bears lineman Gabe Carimi set to rejoin team
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 4, 2013 10:48PM
Chicago Bears tackle Gabe Carimi (72) is on the field in the first half of the exhibition season opener against the Denver Broncos Thursday August 9, 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: June 5, 2013 10:16AM
Bears general manager Phil Emery reiterated after another day of organized team activities without offensive lineman Gabe Carimi that he’d welcome back the former first-round pick with “open arms.”
“I look forward to seeing how he’s doing,” Emery said Tuesday.
It looks like he’ll get that chance next week during the Bears’ mandatory minicamp. The Sun-Times has learned that Carimi plans to return to Chicago a few days before the three-day minicamp begins Tuesday and that he will participate.
There were concerns that Carimi, the 29th pick in 2011, might not show after choosing to miss the Bears’ OTAs to train on his own in Arizona.
Emery said Tuesday that he assumed Carimi would be present. A player can be fined for missing mandatory minicamp.
“We’d like all our players to be here [for OTAs], but Gabe made a decision that was best for Gabe, so every individual player has to make those decisions,” Emery said. “[OTAs are] voluntary. We’re going to respect that, and we’re going to respect Gabe in his decisions.”
Despite all his playing time last year, Carimi was never healthy after dislocating his right knee cap in Week 2 of the 2011 season and needing multiple surgeries. He took part in the Bears’ voluntary minicamp in April and said that his main goal this offseason was getting back to 100 percent. He has been working with trainer LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman.
“Certainly he wants to play and wants to play well, and I think that’s why he’s approached his training that way,” Emery said.
Emery said the Bears have been in contact with Carimi.
“We’ve talked to Gabe and the individual who’s training him,” Emery said. “So, yes, we’re talking to him.”
Emery said there has been no indication that Carimi is upset that coach Marc Trestman and his staff view him as a guard, not a tackle.
Jermon Bushrod, J’Marcus Webb, Jonathan Scott and rookie Jordan Mills are the Bears’ tackles. Carimi will compete with 2013 first-round pick Kyle Long, Matt Slauson and James Brown for playing time at guard.
With Carimi in Arizona and Long unable to participate until after college exams, Slauson and Brown have been working with the Bears’ first-team offense during OTAs.
“I will say with 100 percent conviction that Gabe never demonstrated or vocalized any disappointment,” Emery said. “He’s a competitor, and he wants to continue to compete. He’s done what he’s felt is in his best interests to put himself in that position, and we’re going to honor that.”