The Chicago Bears have been holding organized team activities this week and every veteran with the team made it, except one - offensive lineman Gabe Carimi.
Gabe Carimi should have been there. With a new head coach, there's new plays, terminology and blocking schemes to learn. Head Coach Marc Trestman has said he believes Carimi would play guard in his offense, however Carimi has more experience at tackle, so add perfecting a new position to the "to do" list.
Instead, Carimi is working out on his own in Arizona.
Before this week's OTAs, Carimi, the Bears first round pick of the 2011 draft, was on the bubble to make the roster, never mind compete for a starting role. With the signing of three veteran offensive linemen and drafting two more, it is a clear sign the coaches hated what they had in offensive linemen. It appeared Carimi was going to battle with James Brown, a second-year undrafted free agent, for the last roster spot. Super bad for a first round pick of just two years ago!
It's a real bummer. Carimi had six good quarters of football in him before he hurt his knee during his rookie season. When former general manager Jerry Angelo drafted Carimi, he had one knee surgery performed already. He wasn't considered a risky selection because of it, and he was the best tackle available in the draft when the Bears picked 29th.
Carimi missed some offseason practice sessions before last year's campaign began, and had himself a tough season. He may not have been fully recovered from surgery, but he played his way out of his starting right tackle assignment regardless. He played at guard out of pure necessity when Lance Louis got hurt.
And now, I'll be surprised if Carimi dons a Bears uniform again.
It's baffling to me that a guy who needs to prove himself for a roster spot with a new coaching staff would elect to miss OTAs. Sure, they're voluntary, but he needed to be there if he were to have any future with the club.
I don't think Carimi has quit on the Bears, however. I think it's the other way around.
Carimi did attend veterans minicamp before the draft. Is it possible somehow he got the message then that the new Bears coaching staff is not interested in keeping him? Did someone have a come to Jesus meeting with Carimi, and say, "this just isn't going to work?"
I have no idea, but to me, it is the only plausible explanation for a guy to miss an OTA session with a new coaching staff while battling for a roster spot.
General Manager Phil Emery said has said the team will welcome Carimi "with open arms" should he return, but I have my doubts he means it.