Bucs' Gabe Carimi debuts, says knee held him back with Bears
If Gabe Carimi is to be believed, he’ll be a much better player now that he’s further removed from a major knee injury suffered nearly two years ago.
That wasn’t the case last year, Carimi now admits.
In his first day with the Bucs after his trade to Tampa Bay on Sunday, Carimi said he skipped offseason workouts with the Bears to continue strengthening his knee in private workout sessions.
"I think it just set me back last year,” Carimi said. “I wasn't at full strength. I'm just looking forward to this year.
"I was just trying to get my knee right, trying to be the best I could be. It feels good.”
Carimi lined up as a right tackle today, during the Bucs’ first day of mandatory minicamp. But he won’t necessarily stay there, with his ability to play right guard attractive to the Bucs, too. The details will be sorted out later. But Carimi makes the Bucs’ line better regardless of where and how much he plays.
“He does bring position flexibility,” coach Greg Schiano said. “But you work all that stuff out (later) and you let them go play football and then you figure out where it all fits together.
“With the offensive line, the goal is, let’s get the best five football players on the field. . . Sometimes, the fifth best player might not have the skill set (for a certain position). That’s when you don’t have your best five players out there. Carimi can. So now it’s a matter of finding out what the best combination is. That’s what we have preseason for.”