Just about every team has at least one player whom everyone can point to and say, "Now that is a great guy." For the Chicago Bears this season, that guy is Israel Idonije. Well, it appears the NFL has caught on to the 29-year-old defensive tackle's greatness as he has been nominated for the 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.â†µ
The award recognizes players who are not only huge contributors on the gridiron, but also noticeably and admirable active in the community through humanitarian and charity work. Regarding the latter, it's guilty as charged for Idonije: His Israel Idonije Foundation has the stated mission to "extend positive, life-changing opportunities to families and individuals in economically disadvantaged communities." The foundation works mainly with children and families in Chicago, Canada and Africa via its three main programs: IZZYz KIDZ, All-Star Football and Cheer Camp, and C.A.R.E. Africa.â†µ
Israel has appeared in nine games thus far this season. He's credited with five sacks, 14 tackles and 13 assists. We here at the Deep Dish wish him all the luck in the world in winning the award, which was originally called the "NFL Man of the Year Award" but was renamed to honor Bears running back Walter Payton shortly after his death in 1999.