Israel Idonije has having one heck of a year.
First, he won the starting job at defensive end over Mark Anderson, who was later released.
Since then, Idonije has 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 passes defended, 1 field goal block and 25 tackles. He has been the Bears most productive defensive line man the past couple seasons and has excelled at every position his played as.
Game after game, he makes an impact play that has a positive result. Against the Vikings, he got his paws up to change direction of a Brett Favre pass that DJ Moore picked off.
Not bad for the undrafted Nigerian-born Canadian who started playing football at 17.
I don't know what the criteria is to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award but I bet you'd probably have to be a solid contributor to your team, heavily involved in the community, lead charitable causes and probably be an all around good guy.
Idonije seems to meet that criteria and was nominated for the prestigious award by the Bears because of all of the above and for the charitable work of his foundation, the Israel Idonije Foundation.
He offers free one-day football camps in Chicago and Winnipeg; has a First Down attendance program which is designed to encourage and sustain students' regular school attendance.
In addition to what his foundation does to enrich the lives of young people in this country and Canada, he
founded C.A.R.E - Caring Advancing. Restoring. Educating - which provides medical health care services, clean water and youth sports empowerment programs to underprivileged residents in Africa.
His "Street Love" program provides assistance for the homeless and those in need of supports.
Idonije is deserving of the nomination but should also win it too. Hopefully he does. Oh yeah, almost forgot, let's make sure we vote him into the Pro Bowl too.