Bears DL Israel Idonije pranks rookies for nearly $40,000

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

If rookies on NFL rosters thought that the days of training camp where they carried pads, fetched snacks, were taped to goalposts or thrown into cold tubs were the end of the rookie hazing they'd experience, they are sorely mistaken. Now that they're earning NFL paychecks, veteran players will use their seniority as a way of scoring at least one (expensive) free meal at the rookie's expense.

In 2010, Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant — who famously refused to carry a veteran's shoulder pads during his first training camp — was saddled with a nearly $55,000 dinner bill in his first month in the NFL. reports that the Miami Dolphins offensive line saddled the rookies on their line with a $7,400 bill at Prime One Twelve steakhouse in Miami on Monday night.

On Tuesday night, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije tweeted a picture of a $38,091.91 dinner bill from Mastro's Steakhouse in downtown Chicago.

On Wednesday morning, Idonije admitted that the total of the bill was a prank played at the expense of the "two rookies"; however, the Bears defense does have a pair of rookies who may or may not have been saddled with the non-embellished bill.

The Bears used their first-round pick on defensive end Shea McClellin, who signed a four-year, $8.263 million contract that included $7.522 million in guaranteed money, mostly in the form of a $4,449,744 signing bonus (though according to a source with knowledge of the contract, $1.1 million of McClellin's signing bonus was deferred until next March). The other Bears rookie at the table was practice squad defensive end Aston Whiteside, an undrafted free agent from Abilene Christian who spent training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. Whiteside signed for just $2,000 and received a $3,000 base salary guarantee from the Cowboys. Since joining the Bears, he's earned $5,700 per week ($34,200 before taxes) on the practice squad. The $39,200 he's earned this season would barely cover the fake bill.

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