“Man” Love For LovieFebruary 19th, 2014
Fans and media have heard of the immense respect players across the NFL have for Lovie Smith.
Now there’s fresh evidence from a guy Lovie benched and shunned a second time.
That’s what happened to former Buccaneers offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, who was released by Tampa Bay last week and is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Carimi was drafted in the first round by the Bears under Lovie’s watch in 2011, but he was ousted from the starting lineup and battled knee injuries before former Bucs rockstar general manager Mark Dominik gave Chicago a sixth-round pick for him last summer.
Enter Lovie Smith. Out goes Carimi last week.
Carimi took to the SiriusXM NFL Radio airwaves yesterday and detailed his respect for Lovie. Carimi was expecting to be in Tampa for a while.
“I definitely was a little surprised. I thought I was going to stay there. I kept my rental place out there because [the situation] seemed pretty good,” said Carimi, who was grateful the Bucs didn’t keep him hanging around as a training camp body when they were
“Without a doubt, I mean that’s huge right there. [Lovie] didn’t have to do that. And I really so respect Coach Lovie. Even when he benched me in Chicago, you know, he could look me in the eyes and he treated me like a man. So I still have no harsh feelings towards Lovie Smith. When he called me and said, ‘I’m thinking about letting you go.’ It’s like, he’s a class act kind of guy. Tampa Bay has a good head coach over there.”
Joe’s not sure how much value there is in Lovie being a guy with a classy reputation, but that surely has to help when it comes to recruiting free agents, something the Bucs will be busy doing in less than three weeks.