It would be easy to explain away Gabe Carimi's short and disappointing Bears career by saying he was not good enough.
That would be oversimplifying the matter, however. The kind of promise he showed as a rookie does not just evaporate like morning dew.
There were a number of steps, or missteps, that led to the first round pick becoming a former Bear.
This is how it happened.
•In his second NFL game, Sept. 18, 2011, Carimi suffered an unusual injury.
He dislocated his right knee, which previously had been dislocated, and he suffered anterior cruciate damage.
Treating it would not be routine. One source said there were only three similar cases in the previous 15 years in the league.
Carimi sought numerous opinions, and his father, who is a doctor, also was involved in the process. Doctors differed on how to treat it.
Carimi, who is intelligent and unwilling to let others chart his future, eventually opted to have the Phoenix Suns orthopedist perform surgery.
Before that he tried to come back without surgery and practiced Nov. 2, but it was clear he was not himself. On Nov. 11, nearly eight weeks after the injury, he had the surgery. On Nov. 18, he was put on injured reserve. Then, he needed another surgery Dec. 27.
•Early last season, Carimi still wasn't moving well, and he got off to a poor start.
That he didn't have the final surgery until December was not a help. Months later, he was favoring his leg and not pushing off with power. His performance against the 49ers last November was atrocious.
Carimi eventually would recover from the injury, but his Bears career never would.
•Carimi lost weight in an attempt to put less stress on his knee, and in the process he lost strength.
He went from about 315 pounds to about 300 pounds last offseason. Even after he started to move well around halfway through the 2012 season, he still was missing the strength that had been one of his defining traits.
His body changed. In addition to being weaker in his lower body, he also appeared weaker in his upper body, according to NFL talent evaluators. At 6-foot-7, Carimi has a long torso, and it was difficult for him to get a solid anchor and good leverage with less mass.
•Carimi failed to take advantage of a chance to prove himself to a new coaching staff this spring.
He showed up for Marc Trestman's first minicamp with no lingering knee problem but still at a lighter weight. He did not excite anyone with his performance or his strength.
And then he disappeared for the strength program and organized team activities.