Chicago Sun-Times

Gabe Carimi opts to sit out Bears' OTAs

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carimi.JPGA source confirmed that offensive lineman Gabe Carimi has informed the Bears that he prefers to remain in Arizona to train despite organized team activities beginning at Halas Hall on Monday.

OTAs are voluntary, but at the moment, there is no anticipation as to when Carimi, the Bears' first-round pick in 2011, will be joining his Bears teammates. Carimi wasn't present Tuesday at practice, which was open to the media, after sitting out the first day on Monday.

"Obviously, we talk and he's doing what's best for him," center Roberto Garza said. "That's all I have to say about that."

Carimi started the first 10 games of last season at right tackle before losing his spot to veteran Jonathan Scott. He later started three games at right guard after injuries decimated the Bears' offensive line.

New Bears coach Marc Trestman said during voluntary minicamp in April that he sees Carimi as "more guard" moving forward. It's been expected that Carimi would compete against 2013 first-round pick Kyle Long, Matt Slauson and James Brown at the position.

Carimi was never healthy last season after dislocating his right knee cap in Week 2 of the 2011 season and later requiring multiple surgeries.

Carimi, who did participate in voluntary minicamp, said his goal for the offseason was "just getting healthy. Just feeling better and feeling back to my old self like my rookie year."

Garza said there "a lot of changes" from last season to adjust to and that's why OTAs are important.

"From the weight room to the way the practices are being run to the meetings, we have a whole new staff, a whole new offense to learn," Garza said.

Garza centered a completely new offensive line on Tuesday with tackle Jermon Bushrod and Slauson to his left and tackle' J'Marcus Webb and Brown to his right.

"We just have to work together, and obviously, these OTAs are great for that, learning how each other plays, trusting each other," Garza said. "There's a big process that has to go into us working together and it starts here."

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My only question is this...does he need serious rehab on the knee, or another scope, or is this just pouting? If it's pouting, he needs to be released/traded/whatever... If he needs another operation, or is going to see a specialist to get back to full strength, then I think the conclusion jumped to by the entire Bears-covering media is not good.

He has the talent to be a starting right tackle in the NFL, and the knee has really hindered that. Is he Marc Colombo, where he needs a solid 2 years of recovery before he is fully healthy, and never as good as before the injury? Is he just healing a bruised ego for not being allowed to be a tackle any more? Or is the knee not letting him compete? Second team right guard for a 1st round OT 2 years ago is a pretty steep fall, and not one that most players would accept quietly when it was due to injury and rushing back to play too soon.

The other side of this is there is a regime change for the Bears, none of which drafted him. Tice, Lovie, Angelo...all gone. The new staff doesn't feel any loyalty to Carimi, or feel a need to let him try and win back his RT job. J'Marcus Webb is a stiff, and Scott is a marginal journeyman. If it was a legitimate competition, an 80% healthy Carimi could win the job. But he is not being given that chance from all accounts.

I hate to see what appeared to be a promising career derailed by such a freak injury, but it's time for him to show up, put in the work, and take the job back. He has the tools, he has the ability, and he has the nasty streak that we need out there. If it's health keeping him away, I hope the beat writers eat some crow and give the kid some credit. If it's attitude, he needs to put on his big boy pants and do his job. Everyone's job sucks sometimes, but not everyone gets paid a 1st round pick's salary to stand on the sidelines...

Under his contract, he has to return for the June 11-13 minicamp. If he's not ready now, what good will less than a month more of rehab do him? The Bears still owe him more than a million guaranteed, so that's why he doesn't care what they think, even with a new coach and system.

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