Leshoure changing numbers
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CHAMPAIGN -- He knows his new number, 25. Mikel Leshoure just isn't sure when he will get to wear it.
The second-round pick by the Detroit Lions in last week's draft, Leshoure was given three options for his NFL jersey: 25, 33 and 40.
"It's a prettier number than the other ones," Leshoure said about No. 25. "I've never seen a running back with 33. Forty is more of a fullback number, in my eyes at least."
On Wednesday, Leshoure presented a signed Illinois jersey to Centennial High School, which will put it in a display case. Athletic director Brian Easter also plans, long term, to get Leshoure's pro jersey and display it in the Centennial gym along with those of ex-Chargers Matt Herges and Reggie Hodges.
Leshoure and his mom, Jazz Jones, spent time in the school's weight room with Easter and coach Mike McDonnell. Once he signs an NFL contract, Leshoure would like to help the school with new equipment.
Leshoure knew he wouldn't be able to wear his favored No. 5 in the NFL. Running backs aren't allowed to wear single digits.
"It's not a big deal at all," Leshoure said. "That was something that was going to have to be left in college. At least my number now does have a 5 in it. I'm still representing the No. 5."
Leshoure is thrilled to see his Illinois jersey going in a prominent place at Centennial.
"It's a great feeling," Leshoure said. "It's a feeling that will stay with me the rest of my life. It's something that kids look at when they come into the gym and it's a little bit of inspiration to the youth."
Leshoure's pro career is in a holding pattern. One that he hopes won't last long. He can't sign with the Lions or join his new teammates until after the NFL lockout ends.
While he waits for the labor situation to get settled, Leshoure plans to work out in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago.
"Right now, I'm just staying in the best shape and getting ready for the call," Leshoure said.