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Bears rookies assigned jersey numbers

Rookie offensive tackle Gabe Carimi will don No. 72

Three members of the 2011 Chicago Bears rookie class have been assigned jersey numbers.

Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com announced in his ChalkTalk that top pick offensive tackle Gabe Carimi will wear No. 72, defensive tackle Stephen Paea will wear No. 92 and safety Chris Conte will wear No. 47.

The jersey numbers for quarterback Nathan Enderle and linebacker J.T. Thomas are not yet known.

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Carimi to “work his buns off” in blocking for Cutler

Jay Cutler was one of the first people to reach out to Gabe Carimi after the Bears drafted him.

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.

Chicago Bears draft tackle Gabe Carimi with 29th overall pick

The Bears selected Gabe Carimi with the 69th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears got their man.

After a bit of confusion and perhaps a little desperation, the Bears drafted offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, out of Wisconsin, with the 29th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

“I had a great feeling I would end up with the Bears,” Carimi told reporters in a conference call. “I can’t be happier.”

General manager Jerry Angelo did something uncharacteristic when the Bears were attempting to trade up three spots to take the Wisconsin native. There was talk that the Kansas City Chiefs, who had a pick at No. 27, had interest.

But there was some confusion.

The Bears indeed agreed to the trade with the Baltimore Ravens but failed to complete the paperwork necessary. But luckily it panned out and Chicago got their man.

It was actually a surprise that Carimi slipped as far as he did, with most expecting him to be taken by the middle of the first round.

“It really honestly doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “The Bears picked me. I converted about 100 Packers fans to Bears fans. I cannot wait to play for (line coach) Mike Tice.”

Carimi will be one of the guys on the line in charge of making sure quarterback Jay Cutler stays upright, after he was sacked a league-high 56 times in 2010.

I like the pick of Carimi. I like it a lot.

I like his confidence. I like his cockiness. I like his skills. I like that he flat-out called himself the best tackle in the draft. That’s the attitude you want a player to have.

I admit that there was a part of me that believed that either Angelo would trade out of the first round, as exhibited in years past, or that he would draft another defensive player when the clear and obvious need of this team is on the offensive line.

But he made the right choice-for once.

I think he deserves one round of applause. Just this one time.

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