Usually when guys stay away from voluntary workouts, it’s because they’re trying to make a statement.
In the case of Bears offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, the statement seems to be that he’s putting all the pressure on himself.
Today will be the fifth of 10 voluntary OTA days for the Bears, and Carimi will have missed all five. He’s working out in Arizona with former Pro Bowl lineman LeCharles Bentley, who said the chance he’s taking is worth it.
“Any time a player opts to make an investment in himself that is outside the scope of what the team expects, that’s a gamble,” Bentley told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “That’s sometimes a risk that players have to be willing to take. Sometimes, when guys are in a situation like Gabe, maybe the player feels comfortable betting on himself.
“Now, where it gets a little sketchy, you can’t go back and be OK. You can’t go back and be good. You’ve got to go back and be damn good. That’s where the pressure falls back onto the player and, to be quite frank, that is where it belongs. Let these guys stand up and man up for themselves. These are their careers. If Gabe Carimi is going to be labeled as a bust, let this man do it on his own terms.”
The Bears have tried to play nice, saying they will welcome him with open arms when he returns. But he was on the roster bubble before this, and playing keep-away is no way to endear yourself to a new coach and a General Manager who didn’t pick you in the first round.
When Carimi did show up for a minicamp, he was working as a second-team right guard. He struggled at tackle last year (as did most Bears offensive linemen), and has battled knee problems.
That’s not the strongest position from which to gamble, but that’s the risk Carimi is taking, as he tries to prove his bust label is not an accurate one.