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Israel Idonije reunites with Bears

Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije (71) takes breather 3rd quarter Monday October 22 2012 Soldier Field. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times

Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije (71) takes a breather in the 3rd quarter on Monday, October 22, 2012 in at Soldier Field. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 18, 2014 4:17PM

The offseason that has seen the Bears cut Julius Peppers and decide to part with Devin Hester has produced one reunion: Tuesday, defensive end Israel Idonije agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Bears.

Idonije spent last season with the Lions after playing in Chicago from 2004 to 2012. He was effective in his last three years in navy and orange recording a combined 20 1/2 sacks.

At 33, Idonije doesn’t fit the Bears’ stated purpose to get younger, but his size matches what general manager Phil Emery has stressed in his rebuilding of the Bears defense. At 6-foot-7, 290 pounds, Idonije can play end and rush from the defensive tackle spot on passing downs.

He joins former Detroit teammate Willie Young and former Raiders end Lamarr Houston on the Bears’ rebuilt line, which also returns re-signed tackles Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins.

His return might not bode well for Henry Melton, the defensive tackle who continued his tour of NFL teams Tuesday.

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