By Daniel I. Dorfman–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Imagine being one of the best in your craft and getting a new job that will allow you to show off your skills to a huge audience. But before your first day, there is no job to go to and you are not sure when that position will be active again.
Such is the life of Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi, who wants to play for the Chicago Bears.
Carimi was the 29th overall pick in last April’s draft. If times were normal, he would be getting acclimated to the Bears right now and most likely in negotiations to sign his first professional contract. But times are not normal as the ongoing NFL lockout prohibits Carimi from taking part in activities with the Bears right now as the league and players can not seem to figure out how to divide a $9 billion golden goose. No one knows when – or if – the NFL as we know it will resume.
“Obviously you want to transition from college to pros as smoothly as possible,” Carimi said Sunday. “This is not a normal approach. It is a little frustrating but you just have to keep on working hard and knowing that eventually everything will work out.”
Carimi was in Skokie Sunday to lead a Jewish unity parade, but he is staying in Madison right now and working out three other offensive linemen who were also drafted. (He received a degree in civil engineering earlier this month.) Trips to Halas Hall and contact with Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice are banned due to the labor situation.
The 6’7”, 327 lb. All-American Carimi doesn’t sit down and worry about every twist and turn in the lockout negotiations, but gets necessary updates from his agent. “I follow it closely when there is breaking news,” he said. “But I am not holding my breath over anything.”
Carimi has been in touch with free agent center Olin Kreutz and the rookie was told he would be informed if the offensive linemen get together on their own to practice. As for the recent practices organized by quarterback Jay Cutler, Carimi said they were only seven-on-seven drills with offensive linemen not necessary. Carimi added he received a text message from Cutler, but has not spoken with him.
At the end of the day does Carimi believe the direst of predictions that there will not be NFL football in 2011? He does not, and says, “I honestly believe there will be a season.”
Carimi said he hasn’t been watching Bears game film, but he is not concerned about that because Wisconsin operates a similar pro style attack. “I’ll eventually get information,” he said. “I know basic football; I can tell what they are doing. If you don’t know what play is being called, there really is no point. Until I get the terminology and how they make their calls to the offensive linemen there is no point in watching because I know how to run football.”
Carimi, a native of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, knows there will be one major change in his life and admits to some, um, ahem, maturity. With a big smile across his face he says, “I grew up a Packers fan. You see the error of your ways.”
Do you agree with Daniel? Post your comments below.
Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.