Alim McNeill wanted to keep wearing No. 29 at DT

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Lions rookie defensive tackle Alim McNeill famously wore No. 29 while playing in college at North Carolina State. But the NFL doesn’t allow defensive linemen to wear any number below 50, so Detroit’s third-round pick had to find a new jersey number.

He settled on rocking No. 54 in Detroit, which is also an odd number for a nose tackle but fits within the league’s parameters.

In his post-minicamp press conference on Sunday, I asked McNeill if he would have kept the 29 jersey if the NFL allowed it.

“I would have 100 percent kept it if I could,” McNeill said with a smile. “I’m gonna see if I can create my own rule for that (joking).”

He then explained why he chose No. 54, a number made famous in Detroit by linebacker Chris Spielman, who was quite visible at practices as a special assistant to the team.

“54 was just, it was the lowest number out of the options that I was given, so I chose it,” McNeill stated.

If the NFL expands the available number pool for defensive linemen to allow for McNeill to wear 29 again, expect him to make the change.

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