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Gabe Carimi says he'll be ready to go before Bears' minicamp

5/22/11,Skokie Bears first-round pick Gabe Carimi leads the Jewish Unity Parade to kick off the Great Jewish Family Festival at Westfield Old Orchard. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

Second-year offensive tackle Gabe Carimi said he expects to be ready before the Bears’ minicamp next month.

“I’m feeling really good. They’re saying another couple of weeks and I’ll be here for [offseason training activities] and minicamps,” Carimi said Saturday night from the Bears Care Gala. “I’m just champing at the bit to get back and actually be back with the O-line and not on the outside looking in.”

The team’s veteran minicamp will be June 12-14.

Carimi suffered a dislocated knee cap in Week 2 last season, and he had ups and downs before being put on injured reserve and undergoing surgery.

The Bears were careful about his return, but coach Lovie Smith has been offering some encouraging comments over the last couple months.

“He’s right on schedule,” Smith said Friday. “Right on schedule, but we can’t tell you what that schedule is. But we’re right on it.”

Smith, though, added he wasn’t talking about training camp.

“We’re talking about some of our offseason work,” he said.

Carimi applauded the team’s training staff.

“I’m going to be back very soon, so we’re all very excited to get me back on the field,” Carimi said.

Carimi is expected to return to his role as the starting right tackle.

Players know dangers

Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs said he has been fortunate that he hasn’t had issues with concussions.

“I’ve been lucky, I guess – or whatever you want to say – that I haven’t been in a position like Dan Morgan or different guys who have had concussions that have forced them out of the league,” Briggs said.

“Especially, in 2012, you have to know this is part of the sport you’re entering. You want to love it and all that good stuff and all that it brings. But there are dangers to it.”

Briggs hosted a free football camp for more than 220 eighth- to 12th-graders at Hales Franciscan in Chicago.