The Detroit Lions announced that they have signed free agent DE Israel Idonije to a one-year contract and released DE Freddie Bishop. Additional contract terms were not disclosed.
Idonije joins the Lions after spending the previous nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. Last season, Idonije started 11-of-16 games along the Bears defensive line and finished second on the team in sacks (7.5) behind DE Julius Peppers (11.5). He ended the 2012 season with 48 tackles (29 solo), 7.5 sacks (68 yards) and one forced fumble.
Since 2004, Idonije ranks tied for fourth in sacks among Bears players with 28.5. An undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Manitoba, Idonije was originally drafted by the former Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League before spending part of the 2003 season on the Cleveland Browns and Bears practice squads. His career totals include 134 games played (50 starts), 247 tackles (177 solo), 28.5 sacks (232 yards), 15 pass defenses, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. In six postseason games (two starts) with Chicago, he recorded five tackles and 1.5 sacks.
In 2009, Idonije received the NFL's Ed Block Courage Award, and was also a Bears "Walter Payton Man of the Year" nominee in 2009 and 2010.