(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

The Blitzer as a Protector

A defensive end by day, Israel Idonije doubles as a comic book hero who plays the piano and can't say no to popcorn

By
Robert Klemko
· More from Robert·

1. I think I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth. I’m like a kid when it comes to desserts. I love gummy bears and anything chocolate. I have an obsession for Garrett Popcorn—the caramel and cheddar mix does not make sense, but in the offseason I cannot stop myself.

2. I think I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am if I didn’t have great mentors and leaders along the way. I try to be that for the youth with my foundation, the Israel Idonije Foundation.

3. My thought is that when you change teams, you have to take your heart out of the decision. It is a business decision. I’m a Detroit Lion. My focus is to understand the vision of my team and my coaches, and to do my job.

4. The Lions’ locker room is a great locker room, and at this point in the year we are starting to build chemistry and trust in one another. The talent is here.

5. I believe the Lions have all the pieces to be champions. I don’t think anything needs to change here for the Lions to win the Super Bowl. We just have to put in the work.

6. There are benefits to both, but I think I like going away from the facility for training camp better than not. When you go away, it’s like you’re in a little city. The dorm is your home. When you’re practicing at your facility, you’re just there for the day. Generally, it feels different. However, at the end of the day, whether you’re going away or staying at the facility to train, the focus, the determination and the goals are the same.

7. I think the Bears won’t be missing any leadership despite all the changes. I was fortunate enough to be a Bear for 10 years and I can tell you, it’s a brotherhood. We just had so much fun together. Roberto Garza, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman—those guys will ensure that culture continues.

Courtesy of Israel Idonije
Courtesy of Israel Idonije

8. I believe the comic book portrayal of athletes as superheroes is very natural. In my book The Protectors, I don’t just give athletes superpowers. I tell an origin story of the powers and the elite abilities—the strength, the speed, the aptitude—that professional athletes possess.

9. I think the Lions’ fans have been fantastic—they really add to the excitement of the upcoming season.  They have been very welcoming and have shown me a lot of love via social media.  Interacting with them on Twitter and Facebook has been fun.

10. I think it’s important to explore life and seek out opportunities. In the offseason, I like to learn new things and develop new talents.  Some recent things I’ve done include learning to play the guitar and the piano, and getting my boat captain’s license. I think one day I’d like to give acting a shot.

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3 comments
M.f.Lueder
M.f.Lueder

Class act Mr Idonijie. As a Bears fan I am sad you are gone but understand totally it is a business that you play in. Good luck.

cpd2k
cpd2k

What a class act!  We'll miss you in Chicago, Izzy!

Jim21
Jim21 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks Izzy - it was a pleasure to watch you play for 10 seasons with my favorite team, the Chicago Bears. I don't know if there was anyone better at blocking a field goal than you were! No hard feelings towards you for switching teams but don't hold it against me if I root against you for 2 games :) Good luck this season. 

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