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Phil Emery: Gabe Carimi to be greeted with open arms

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi's absence from organized team activities was the main buzz out of Chicago Bears camp this week.

General manager Phil Emery doesn't sound worried.

"This is a voluntary situation, and every player has to make his own decisions," Emery told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday night, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "Gabe has made a decision that he wants to stay in Arizona and train, and we respect that. And he'll be welcomed with open arms when he comes back."

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The third-year pro was penciled into the right guard position after excelling there at the end of last season, when injuries and mediocre play led to him being moved from the right tackle position.

However, the Bears signed veteran guard Matt Slauson, then selected Kyle Long in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After the draft, it was assumed Long would take Carimi's guard spot as a rookie before moving outside in subsequent seasons. That might leave Carimi battling just to make the roster.

Without that subplot, Carimi's absence might not have caused quite the same stir.

It is important to note ESPN Chicago reported that Carimi notified the Bears after attending April's team workouts that he would be skipping this voluntary phase of the offseason program. Whether he should have continued with that plan after the draft unfolded is a completely different question.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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