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Defensive lineman Israel Idonije agrees to one-year deal with Lions

Handicapped from start without Henry MeltSheMcClellline tried its hardest — Corey WoottJulius Peppers each had 1.5 sacks —

DEFENSIVE LINE: C Handicapped from the start without Henry Melton and Shea McClellin, the line tried its hardest — Corey Wootton and Julius Peppers each had 1.5 sacks — but Aaron Rodgers was better.

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Updated: June 25, 2013 11:42PM

As expected, veteran defensive lineman Israel Idonije won’t be back with the Bears for the 2013 season. He’ll
remain in the NFC North, though.

The Detroit Lions announced Tuesday that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Idonije, who broke into the NFL with the Bears and spent nine seasons with them.

Idonije was primarily a contributor on special teams before emerging as a starter for the Bears in 2010, when he notched a career-high eight sacks. He added five sacks in 2011 and 71/2 last season. But it was Idonije’s ability to play end and tackle that made him truly valuable. Now the Bears are experimenting with Corey Wootton in that role.

Idonije also was a leader and role model in the locker room. That clearly appealed to the Lions, who drafted
defensive end Ziggy Ansah fifth overall in the draft in April.

The Bears’ addition of veteran defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who started 70 games in five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, spelled the end of Idonije’s tenure in Chicago. The Bears also expect defensive end Shea McClellin’s workload to increase in his second season.

Adam L. Jahns

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