Will Lovie Look To Israel Idonije?June 21st, 2014
A fixture for nine seasons on Lovie Smith’s Bears teams, versatile defensive lineman Israel Idonije is now on the free market, released by Chicago this week.
So will Lovie talk to his 33-year-old friend and possibly invite him to Bucs training camp? Joe’s done some digging.
A source close to the Bears who watched Idonije in their recent minicamp said he’s unsure how much, if anything, Idonije has left in his tank, but the source said he could see Lovie considering Idonije as a valuable option because of his versatility.
Idonije has had success in his career at all the defensive line positions, with the least amount of time at right defensive end. He started 42 of 48 games from 2010 to 2012, with eight sacks in 2010 and 7.5 in 2012. That time was mixed as a left defensive end and an inside rusher. Prior to his time as a starter, Idonije was considered an elite special teams player and has eight blocked punts/kicks in his career.
Last year, he was a backup for 15 games in Detroit before the Bears brought him back this offseason. Reports say Idonije worked with the third-team defensive line during the spring minicamp.
However, judging a defensive lineman during spring practices, aka underwear football, is difficult if not impossible. They’re not allowed to hit anyone.
Idonije also is known for being an elite athlete and great citizen, a winner of many humanitarian honors.
Right now, the Bucs backup for Gerald McCoy seems to be undrafted rookie Euclid Cummings. And out-of-shape Da’Quan Bowers, in the final year of his contract, occupies a roster spot. Perhaps Lovie wants more competition? It can’t hurt to at least bring in Idonije for a chat and a workout.