Football is his game, not poker, but Manitoba's Israel Idonije is holding a nice hand these days.
And the hulking defensive end, who played college ball for the University of Manitoba Bisons, is about to hit the jackpot.
The 25-year-old free agent recently signed an offer sheet with the Buffalo Bills reportedly worth $7.5 million US over four years.
The Chicago Bears, who Idonije played with the past two seasons, have the right to match Buffalo's offer by this weekend.
"Regardless of where I am, in Chicago or Buffalo, they're giving me a whole lot," Idonije told the Winnipeg Sun. "I want to play to the level beyond what they've paid me."
A free-agent signee by the Cleveland Browns in 2003, Idonije was injured in training camp and released by the AFC team. The Bears saw raw talent in his 6-foot-6, 275-pound frame and considered him a project worth pursuing. He was signed to the Bears' practice roster late in 2003 and worked his way into playing time the next two seasons.
In 2005, Idonije was a regular on special teams for the NFC North-champion Bears and was a regular substitute on the defensive line, playing both tackle and end.
New Bills head coach Dick Jauron led the Bears when Idonije arrived in the Windy City and liked what he saw. Presumably Bills defensive co-ordinator Perry Fewell, who also came over from the Bears staff, does as well.
"Buffalo is a great situation," Idonije said. "They use the same defence as we do in Chicago. They're not guaranteeing me a starting spot, but I have an opportunity to go in there and earn a starting position."
MOULDS ON MARKET
Eric Moulds has the Buffalo Bills' permission to seek a trade, the latest step for the veteran receiver who asked for his release after repeatedly rejecting the team's demands to take a pay cut.
"We are shopping Eric," Moulds' personal adviser, Greg Johnson, told The Associated Press.
"He doesn't want to play for the Bills."
COLTS FOCUS ON VINATIERI
The Indianapolis Colts are switching from the NFL's most accurate kicker to the best in the clutch.
Taking a key piece from its rival New England, Indy agreed in principle to a deal with Adam Vinatieri, a source close to the Colts said.
Vinatieri, who twice hit winning kicks in the Super Bowl for the Patriots, replaces former Pro Bowler Mike Vanderjagt of Oakville.
The source confirmed the signing with the AP on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not yet been made.
John Abraham finally got what he wanted when the New York Jets traded the Pro Bowl defensive end to the Atlanta Falcons in a three-way deal with the Denver Broncos ... Brian Griese agreed to a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears, adding depth behind Rex Grossman at quarterback. Griese has passed for 16,344 yards and 103 TDs in eight seasons.