Safety Keanu Neal may have found his new jersey number for the Dallas Cowboys.
When watching the Dallas Cowboys last season, it was quite evident that they needed to drastically overhaul a defensive squad that got pulverized by the opposition. With Xavier Woods hitting the open market, the Cowboys decided to bring in former Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal on a one-year, $4 million contract.
Many fans already started to photoshop Neal in a Cowboys uniform, but his previous No. 22 can not be used, since it was retired by the team for legendary running back Emmitt Smith. On Friday, Neal posted a photo of himself wearing the No. 42 on his Instagram account. The thing is, No. 42 belongs to fellow safety Jayron Kearse, according to the Cowboys’ official website. Well, for now, anyway.
Cowboys: Keanu Neal may have his new jersey number in Dallas
It is quite possible that Kearse is tentatively listed as No. 42, as Neal is not even listed on the team’s official roster page.
Neal primarily wore the No. 22 during his time with the Falcons, but he did wear 42 during his collegiate days at Florida. During his three years as a Gator, Neal recorded 134 total tackles (4.5 for loss), five defended passes, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
The start of his NFL career started strong, which saw him make the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl in 2017. Neal was struck by the injury bug in 2018 and 2019, where he tore his ACL and his Achilles, limiting him to four games. But in 2020, Neal played in all but one game in what would be his final year with the Falcons.
Through his five years in the NFL, Neal has 338 total tackles (15 for loss), 16 defended passes, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions and one sack.
In 2021, Neal is reuniting with former Falcons head coach and current Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, where he will officially move from safety to weak-side linebacker. Based off Neal’s Instagram post, he will do so in a No. 42 Cowboys jersey.