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.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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optimator wrote on May 04, 2011 at 3:05 pm

"I've never seen a running back with 33."

Tony Dorsett

Roger Craig

Michael Turner

Mike Rozier

toddalan1975 wrote on May 05, 2011 at 12:05 am

ya and you forget how young he is! Heck Tony Dorsett is the only one that really sticks out. why cant rb's wear single number jerseys?

JimOATSfan wrote on May 05, 2011 at 7:05 am

Numbers 1,3,5 & 7 are retired by the Bears (Driscol-QB, Head Coach, Nagurski-FB, McAfee-RB, Halas-TE,DE).

As are numbers 34,40 & 42 (Payton-RB, Sayers-RB, Luckman-QB).

Of course that wild-ass RB Grange wore his #77 into history!

http://www.sporthistoreplays.com/bears2.html

Cheers!

Zentrails wrote on May 05, 2011 at 8:05 am

What do retired Bears numbers have to do with anything?

Anyway, Congrats, Leshoure.

Nice reward for all the pain and hard work.

jturner wrote on May 05, 2011 at 11:05 am

It is sobering to note that by far the most famous number 33 - Dorsett - who many us remember very well, was retired before Mikel was born.

JimOATSfan wrote on May 05, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hey Zen-master:

"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."

The Bears are a local NFL team. Those names might mean more to a Champaign guy than most NFL teams. Besides there are only 5 single digit numbers left in Chicago.

Personally, I think Roger Craig had a huge impact on those SF SB winning teams. Unstoppable at times. Cheers!

bluehavana wrote on May 05, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The only #33 popping into my head immediately is Michael Turner of the Falcons.

Lesoure seems like a good dude, so good luck even if it is with the Lions. So I'll cut him some slack on not being a major historian of running back numbers.