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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Carimi has a contingency plan

By Jefff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Normally, the Chicago Bears hold a rookie mini-camp for all drafted players, undrafted rookie free agents and tryout players the weekend following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.

But with the ever-changing NFL labor situation, there is no guarantee the lockout will be lifted again in time for the first year players to report to Halas Hall in the near future.

First-round pick Gabe Carimi arrived with his family at the Bears facility Saturday morning, while second and third round choices Stephen Paea and Chris Conte are expected to show up in Lake Forest around 4 pm. After that, however, it's anybody's guess as to when the organization will be able to reconnect with its newest acquisitions.

"I'm ready as soon as this lockout is over," Carmi said. "I can't wait to come and start playing. I'm sure everybody else feels that way too."

Bears players under contract or tendered were able to use the Halas Hall workout facilities on Friday, but the weight room and the Walter Payton Center are once again off-limits because the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis granted the NFL's request for a temporary stay of Judge Susan Nelson's injunction order. The appeals court is expected to rule next week on the NFL's request for a more permanent stay that would last through its appeal of the injunction, a process expected to take 6-8 weeks.

Carimi already has a plan in place if the NFL is granted a more permanent stay and the lockout continues to be in effect during the appeals process.

"I plan on going back to Madison, Wis. and training with my other offensive lineman that I have been training with for the last three weeks leading up to the draft," Carimi said. "I'll continue to work on my positions skills and strength gains."