There was a sense of relief that washed through the Chicago Bears fandom when the Bears selected offensive tackle Gabe Carimi with the 29th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on Thursday night.
There may have also been a sigh of relief from one Jay Cutler.
“He was one of the first people to text me and congratulate me,” Carimi told reporters, “and I sent him a text back, ‘I am so happy to block for you. I am going to give you all the time you ask for. I am going to work my buns off for you.”
It’s no secret that for about two years the Bears have been in dire need of solidity on the offensive line. After a 2010 campaign where Cutler was sacked a league-high 56 times, offensive tackle had been Chicago’s main focus heading into the draft.
But the question is where will Carimi line up?
The Lake Forest-born Carimi played at left tackle at Wisconsin but there has been some doubt by NFL scouts if he has the physical skills to play at left tackle in the NFL.
Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times suggested that Carimi would line up at right tackle with J’Marcus Webb in the role of left tackle, noting Webb’s physicality advantage over Carimi.
“It obviously doesn’t matter to me,” Carimi said about where he will line up. “Wherever Mike Tice is going to want me, I am going to play. I am just going to be excited to play for the Bears. Really, I am so pumped about the entire situation. I am hoping to bring a physical presence to the offensive line which they already have.”
With that physical presence comes an attitude characteristic of Olin Kretuz. It’s an attitude that Bears offensive line could really use to bolster their morale.
Even though he was born in Lake Forest, Carimi moved to Wisconsin when he was three years old. Wisconsin and Bears are two words that just do not mesh well. Should we be concerned?
“I thought this would be the best situation for me to have a great career with a great organization,” he said. “This is where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a Bear.
“I grew up a Packer fan. How wrong I was. I see the errors of my way.”
All is forgiven.