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Bears release Idonije, Jerrod Johnson

The Bears on Thursday terminated the contract of defensive lineman Israel Idonije, and waived quarterback Jerrod Johnson, safety Sean Cattouse and tight end Fendi Onobun.

The team also signed defensive end Jamil Merrell and linebacker Conor O'Neill, two undrafted rookies who participated in this week's three-day minicamp on a tryout basis.


Israel Idonije
After spending his first nine NFL seasons with the Bears from 2004-12, Idonije played for the Lions last year before re-signing with the Bears in March. He has appeared in 149 career games with 50 starts, registering 273 tackles, 29 sacks, 40 tackles-for-losses, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. He also has recorded 36 special-teams tackles and eight blocked kicks.

Very active in the community, Idonije was the Bears' Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2009 and was the team's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee in 2009 and 2010, including being one of three finalists for the prestigious award in 2010.

Johnson has also spent time with the Eagles, Steelers and Seahawks since entering the NFL in 2011, but he has not appeared in a regular-season game. His departure appears to indicate that the Bears will take quarterback Jimmy Clausen to training camp to compete with Jordan Palmer and rookie David Fales for backup positions behind Jay Cutler.

Cattouse appeared in one game for the Bears last season, while Onobun spent the 2013 campaign on Chicago's practice squad.

Merrell appeared in 34 games with 18 starts over four seasons at Rutgers, compiling 81 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles-for-losses, one forced fumble and four pass breakups.

O'Neill played in 53 games with nine starts over four seasons at Wisconsin, registering 91 tackles, seven tackles-for-losses, three forced fumbles, one interception, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups.

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