The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that they have signed a one-year contract with free agent defensive end Israel Idonije to bolster an already dangerous defensive line. Freddie Bishop was released to make room for the former Chicago Bear. No additional contract terms were disclosed about the roster move.
For the Lions, Idonije can bring with him knowledge of NFC North rival Chicago—with whom he spent the previous nine seasons. In 2012, Idonije started 11-of-16 games for the Bears while finishing second in sacks (7.5) behind only teammate Julius Peppers. His 2012 totals included 48 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, and one forced fumble.
Since entering the league in 2003, Idonije ranked fourth amongst Bears players with his 28.5 sacks. An undrafted free agent out of the University of Manitoba, Idonije got his football start in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Renegades. His career totals include: 134 games played, 247 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 15 passes defended, 6 forced fumbles, and 6 fumble recoveries.
In 2009, Idonije received the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award, and was also nominated for the Bears “Walter Payton Man of the Year Award” in 2009 and 2010.
For Detroit, the NFC North will be faced to block against a tough defensive line unit including Nick Fairly, Ndamukong Suh, newly drafted Ziggy Ansah out of BYU, and now Idonije. If QB Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson can find some consistency on the offensive side of the ball, Detroit could contend with the Packers, Bears, and Vikings for bragging rights atop the conference.
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