Is general manager Jerry Angelo cursed when it comes to drafting offensive linemen?
You can’t help but wonder after watching first-round draft pick Gabe Carimi limp off the field with a knee injury late in the second quarter Sunday at the Superdome. Carimi’s dislocated kneecap isn’t expected to be anywhere near as devastating as the dislocated kneecap that all but ended Marc Colombo’s Bears career in his rookie year in 2002. But the similarities are enough to give Angelo nightmares:
â– Both the 6-7, 320-pound Colombo and the 6-7, 316-pound Carimi were drafted 29th overall.
â– Both were injured three plays before the end of the first half.
â– Both were replaced by former starters (Bernard Robertson for Colombo; Frank Omiyale for Carimi).
â– Both were injured on artificial turf in domed stadiums (Colombo at Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis; Carimi in the Superdome in New Orleans).
â– Lovie Smith and Mike Martz were at both games. Martz was the head coach and Smith the defensive coordinator for the Rams in 2002.
â– Colombo was in his fifth start in a Bears uniform. Carimi was in his sixth.
â– The Bears missed Olin Kreutz in both games. Kreutz was recovering from an appendectomy when Colombo was injured (the only game Kreutz missed in his last 10 years with the Bears); he was playing center for the Saints on Sunday. Chris Chandler was sacked seven times in the Colombo game; Jay Cutler was sacked six times against the Saints.
It’s not quite as eerie as the Lincoln-Kennedy coincidences. But for what it’s worth, former Pro Bowl tackle Lincoln Kennedy wore Carimi’s No. 72 and Colombo’s No. 75 in the NFL.
The most important difference, it appears, is that Colombo was put on injured reserve immediately and was facing a recovery of a year or longer. Carimi, at least right now, could be back in a month or sooner.
All Angelo can do is keep his fingers crossed. Carimi is the third offensive tackle he has drafted in the first round and the third one to suffer an injury as a rookie.
Chris Williams (14th overall in 2008) missed most of his rookie year with a back injury, was moved from left tackle to right tackle to left tackle to left guard, where he has started the last 15 games.