Fair or not, Bears’ first-round draft pick Gabe Carimi will be compared to a man who came a decade before him until he can play a full season in a Chicago uniform.
The first draft pick of general manager Jerry Angelo’s reign with the Bears was Marc Colombo, an offensive lineman chosen at the end of the first round in 2002. Colombo suffered a dislocated knee as a rookie and the nerve damage in the knee led to the end of his career with the Bears. Fortunately for him, he went on to a successful career with the Dallas Cowboys and is now with the Miami Dolphins.
The Bears placed Carimi on injured reserve today, a week after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Carimi suffered a subluxation of the knee – similar to a dislocation – in the second quarter of the Week 2 loss at New Orleans. He practiced once before having the surgery, and now he’s lost for the season.
“It's disappointing, yes, but he's been out a while and we've played most of the season without him,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Gabe eventually will be a great player for us. But right now I mean other guys have stepped up and we've moved on.”
The Bears promoted Levi Horn from the practice squad to take Carimi’s place. The team is expected to sign veteran offensive tackle Jordan Black on Monday. Black had a workout for the Bears on Wednesday. The shame of the situation is had the Bears not waited two months on Carimi, they could have Black (or another street free agent) up to speed with their offensive system by now.
In Carimi’s absence, Lance Louis has moved from right guard to right tackle and played well for a player with no experience there. The question now is how will Carimi respond? NFL teams knew he had maintenance on the knee while at Wisconsin, where he was the Outland Trophy winner in 2010. Two clubs contacted said they had a yellow flag on Carimi entering the draft, meaning there were medical concerns.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune