- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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It was apparently a big night for some Chicago Bears players. Late Tuesday night, Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije tweeted the bottom of a dinner bill to his more than one million followers that said "Bears dinner" from Mastro's, a steakhouse chain that has a location in Chicago. The restaurant charged $9,999 each for three Bears dinners, though it's not exactly clear how many players attended. Idonije used the hashtag #rookienight, which suggests that he wasn't paying. The bill total, before tip, came out to $38,091.91.
Idonije accompanied the copy of the bill, writing "Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night!!"
But was it all a bit of rookie hazing? He later tweeted it was a joke to play on the first-year players. A source confirmed that the restaurant printed the fake bill.
"We all went out for dinner, rookie night, and we had the restaurant bring by a big bill just to shock (practice squad defensive end) Aston (Whiteside) and Shea," Idonije told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday. "It was hilarious. They didn't know what to do with themselves. It was fun and we laughed and we moved on.
The bill is much more expensive than the tab the Miami Dolphins' rookies reportedly picked up for a steak dinner on Monday night. TMZ reported that "several unlucky rookies" picked up a $7,400 bill at Prime One Twelve in Miami beach. The website said 10 offensive linemen attended the meal.
TMZ said the rookies split the meal commensurate with how much each of them made.
The most famous rookie dinner bill was $54,896, the price Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant paid in 2010 for a meal as a penalty for refusing to carry Roy Williams gear.