(1988 - )
Gabe Carimi (born June 13, 1988) is a Jewish American professional football player currently on the Chicago Bears of the National Football League.
Carimi was born in Lake Forest, Illinois and both of his parents are Jewish - his mother, born a Catholic, converted after marriage. He attended high school in Wisconsin and during his senior year was voted a football Parade All-American and PrepStar All-American while he captained the team. Gabe was also the Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal Player of the Year, first-team all-state in 2005, a first-team selection by the Associated Pess and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (as a two-way player), and was twice first-team all-conference.
After high school, Carimi attended the University of Wisconsin and became a starter on the offensive line immediately as a freshman. As a senior, Carimi won the 2010 Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation's top collegiate interior lineman, also was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, a unanimous Consensus All-American, an American Football Coaches Association All-American, and a Walter Camp first team All-American.
Carimi was drafted in the first round with the 29th overall selection of the 2011 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. Shortly after being drafted, Chicago radio personality Dan Bernstein nicknamed Carimi "The Bear Jew," in reference to his sheer size and a character in the recently released movie, Inglorious Basterds. On July 29, 2011, the Bears signed Carimi to a four-year contract and he began his rookie 2011 season as the Bears' starting right tackle.
Carimi is a practicing Jew and very committed to his religion, and found time as a youth to both go to his football practices and to attend Madison's Temple Beth-El, a Reform synagogue. By the time of his Bar Mitzvah, he was already so tall that while blessing him, and even with Carimi bending down, the synagogue’s education director had to put his hands on Carimi’s shoulders rather than atop his head. Carimi continued his Jewish studies even after his Bar Mitzvah.
In his freshman year of college in 2007, when Yom Kippur fell on a Saturday, he fasted until an hour before the Big Ten Conference opener against Iowa started that night. Carimi said, "Religion is a part of me, and I don't want to just say I'm Jewish. I actually do make sacrifices that I know are hard choices.”
At the 2011 NFL combine, when asked whether he would play on Yom Kippur in the NFL, he responded: "I already looked out over the next 15 years, and Yom Kippur doesn't fall on a Sunday."
Photo Credit: Exposay.Com