One way or another the Detroit Lions have had a knack for finding ways to lose games over the years.

Death taxes and a Lions' blunder at the most inopportune moment.

A year ago when they were losing their final eight games to finish 4-12 there were distractions going all the way back to the many off-season player arrests to an in-season emotional breakdown by young receiver Titus Young.

Not enough leaders not enough character guys not enough winners. That was the Detroit locker room. They had some but not enough.

Israel Idonije one of the Lions' valuable off-season acquisitions witnessed it all from afar as a member of the division rival Chicago Bears for the last nine seasons.

"We had some epic battles" Idonije who is 6-foot-6 275 pounds said of the Lions-Bears rivalry in which Chicago won nine of the last 10 meetings. "From an outsider looking in some of those games have been some tough losses for Detroit. Like man I don't know how they lost that game.

"Outside looking in it just seemed like it looks like they're going to win a game but just keep watching something is going to happen on that side. Sure enough like they were fighting themselves. I've been in some of those games where like man it was our game to lose.

"I think coming into this year the focus has been just excellence and really discipline doing everything the right way every single snap. You see it."

When the Bears decided to go younger on the defensive line Idonije 32 became expendable and ended up signing a one-year deal in late June with the Lions.

Chicago's loss is Detroit's gain.

"I have a lot of respect for guys that have played 10 years in the NFL" Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "We know Idonije very well. He was always a thorn in our side. Not only do we get him on our team but we get him away from the Bears."

What's more the Lions added one of the NFL's true class acts. This is a man who was honored by President Obama and former President George H.W. Bush with a prestigious Points of Light award given to people for their special acts of community service.