Appearing this morning on NFL Network's NFL A.M., new Detroit Lions' defensive lineman Israel Idonije made some of his first public comments and shed some light on his decision to make the four hour trip east to sign with Detroit.
Last week at this time, news was spreading about the Lions inking Idonije to a one-year contract. Many wondered how a loyal member of the Bears, who'd played every down in Chicago, could switch area codes to another bitter NFC North rival. Idonije, ironically, admitted that was part of his thought process all along.
"Detroit just seemed like the perfect fit," Idonije said. Six games out of the year, I'm going to play teams I'm very familiar with. The style of defense is the same style, an attacking style defense. When you start to look at the talent pool that they have defensively, the guys I'll be lining up with, it really was the perfect fit."
Idonije also stated, for his part, that it wasn't tough to go to a division rival, but harder to leave the family style atmosphere he had forged in Chicago during 10 seasons. However, when he took the personal aspect out of it and began to think of the opportunity in a businesslike way, the decision was easy. Idonije wants the chance to win a title soon, and he believes given what Detroit has on both lines, he'll have the best shot to do that in the near future with the Lions.
Despite the fact that Idonije is on a new team which he's very familiar with, he won't be looking to go after former teammate Jay Cutler, but he'll be excited to play the Bears and remind them what they had with him on their squad. What does Idonije think about starting his first training camp later this month in Detroit? Will that feel weird?
"I'm not going in with any expectations as far as the environment, I'm going in to one, understand the vision of the leadership of the team and embrace my teammates; do what I've done over the past 10 seasons…Everything else will work itself out."
As many have lamented, Idonije is a class player off the field as well, and he took some time to demonstrate that later in the interview, speaking intently about his foundation and how he helps Chicago's youth on an everyday basis with after school programs, internships and mentoring.
"With the platform we have in the NFL, it's important we do what we can with our gift in order to impact the lives of those around us. That's what we do. We're focused on social development."
Certainly, the Lions are getting a quality contributor with a good heart who seems eager to impact the lives of others in a positive way. As far as Idonije's statement about having the best chance to win in Detroit, that speaks volumes about the leaps forward the franchise has made in recent years, and even in an offseason of much uncertainty and change.
Quite frankly, Detroit looks fortunate to have found a player and person like Idonije so late in the offseason. It could be the one addition that helps put the team over the top defensively in 2013.
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