Former Bear Idonije Signs With Detroit

Israel Idonije is no longer a Bear. The free agent defensive lineman who spent nine years in Chicago signed with the Detroit Lions.

Idonije played his whole career in Chicago after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He was a part of the team that went to the Super Bowl in 2006 and really started to shine after the Bears signed Julius Peppers. As opponents double-teamed Peppers, Idonije was free to get at the quarterback. He had 20.5 sacks and five forced fumbles over the past three seasons.

The Bears reportedly offered him a contract early in free agency, but he didn't take it. Idonije visited with the Titans, and as time wore on, it became clearer that he wasn't going to be a Bear. Finally, he landed in Detroit, where he will help bolster a pass rush that lost Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch in the off-season.

He's the third Bears defensive player to recently land with the Lions. Chris Harris, now a Bears coach, and Rashied Davis went to Detroit after Chicago. The difference is Idonije was a free agent, while Davis and Harris were released.

The NFL is a cutthroat business, and players come and go all the time. Idonije's tenure in Chicago was above average on the field, but excellent off of it. He is one of the most charitable players in football, working with both the local community and in his home in Nigeria. Best of luck to you, Izzy -- except for when you're playing the Bears.

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