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Israel Idonije

Israel at training camp, 2008
No. 71     Chicago Bears
Defensive end/Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: November 17, 1980 (1980-11-17) (age 29)
Place of birth: Lagos, Nigeria
Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
College: Manitoba
CFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 2 / Pick: 17
Undrafted in 2003
Debuted in 2004 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
 As player:
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Injured Reserve
Career highlights and awards
  • Led NFL in blocked punts/fields goals in 2005, 2006, 2007
  • 2009 Ed Block Courage Award Recipient
Stats at

Israel Idonije (born November 17, 1980) is a Nigerian-Canadian defensive tackle for the National Football League's Chicago Bears. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Manitoba. A draft pick of the now defunct Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League, for whom he never played, Idonije spent the start 2003 season on the Cleveland Browns' practice squad prior to his release in September. He was subsequently signed to the Bears' practice squad for the final six weeks of the season[1].


Early years

Idonije was born in Lagos, Nigeria and immigrated with his family to Brandon, Manitoba.[2][3] He attended Vincent Massey High School in Brandon and, though he had never played and was reluctant, coach Kevin Grindey convinced him to play when the school restarted its Canadian football program in 1997, when Idonije was in the twelfth grade.[4] He went on to play CIS football for the Manitoba Bisons, played in the East-West Shrine Game, and was drafted 17th overall by the Ottawa Renegades in the 2003 CFL Draft. At Manitoba from 2000-02, Idonije recorded 16 sacks which stands fourth all-time in Bison history. He helped lead the Bison to the 2001 Vanier Cup where Manitoba was defeated by the Saint Mary's Huskies. His goal, however, was to play for the National Football League.[5]

Professional career

NFL combine

Idonije was not invited to the NFL Combine, but appeared on his own to distribute tapes of his years at University of Manitoba. Nine NFL team scouts were originally scheduled to attend a subsequent workout in Manitoba, but only one team (The Cleveland Browns) ended up attending. Idonije was eventually signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent, and put on Cleveland's practice squad.[5]

Cleveland Browns

Idonije was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent, and put on Cleveland's practice squad. He was later waived by the Browns midway through the season.Now he plays for the Chicago Bears as a defensive

Chicago Bears

He was obtained by the Chicago Bears as a practice squad player late in the 2003 season. On December 6, 2008 Idonije recorded a career high of 1.5 sacks. Israel Idonije is a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and remains as the Bears pass-rushing specialist. He got much more playing time after Dusty Dvoracek went down with a season-ending hand injury. In May of 2009, Idonije re-signed with the Bears for two years worth $7 million.

As a Bear, Idonije is known for his ability to play both Defensive Tackle and Defensive End.

In Week 8 of the 2009 NFL season, Israel Idonije blocked an extra point, after a Cleveland Brown touchdown. The Bears ended up winning that game 30-6, and became 4-3 on the season.

During a Week 16 Monday Night Football game, Idonije blocked his second extra point of his 2009 NFL Season.

On December 30, Idonije was placed on injured reserve due to a foot injury.


External links

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