Return of Israel Idonije, Other Familiar Faces Will Benefit Chicago Bears’ Defense

By Clyde A. Speller
Getty Images
Getty Images

What was predicted by many in the Windy City, when word got out about Israel Idonije visiting the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, has become a reality. Idonije and the Bears agreed to a one-year deal, bringing back the 11-year veteran for a second tour of duty in Chicago for the 2014 NFL season.

After cracking the Bears’ starting lineup in 2010 and racking up 20.5 sacks from that point through 2012, Idonije joined the rival Detroit Lions in 2013. While in the Motor City, Idonije was buried on the Lions’ depth chart, and finished the season with only 11 tackles and a half a sack.

Now that Izzy will be donning the navy blue and orange once again, he has a chance to get reacquainted with some his teammates, which might bring some much-needed chemistry back to the defensive side of the ball. Even though the Bears will be without Julius Peppers, and possibly Corey Wootton and Henry Melton, having Idonije a part of the rotation along the defensive front with Stephen Paea, and the other key additions of Chicago’s D-line, will help tremendously. Hopefully, it will improve the pass rush, which was dead last in the NFL in 2013.

Furthermore, on the second and third levels of the defense, Idonije will count on linebacker Lance Briggs, and cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, the same way he did over the past several years.

Chances are that Idonije won’t be a starter in 2014, but his ability to play both defensive end and defensive tackle will make him a valuable asset. In addition, Izzy is an outstanding special teams player. Though the likelihood of Idonije putting up Pro Bowl numbers are slim to none, his presence alone can be the difference in the Bears’ return to dominance on defense.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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