Israel Idonije is treating 2012 as just another season in the NFL, but he has to know it's more than that. He's 31, coming off a down year with five sacks and the 19th pick in the draft, Shea McClellin, is among the competitors for his playing time. Last year it was free agent Nick Reed after Corey Wootton was injured early in camp.
''Last year was a rough year for me,'' said Idonije, who still had nine tackles-for-loss and a fumble recover for a touchdown last season. ''I had a lot going on. I was a little banged up. But I was fortunate that I played the season out and I'm fortunate to be back for another year. This year it's really about putting it all together (in) my third year as a starter, and taking that next step.''
When the Bears drafted McClellin in the first round in April, it was clear that Idonije's position was targeted for an upgrade. ''My mindset hasn't changed at all,'' Idonije said. ''My focus every year is to get better, to be the best I can be.
''Every year I've been here, they've brought in guys. So mindset is the same. Last year, the year before, every year, I continue to work to get better.''