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Lions cornerback Darius Slay said he was "just messing around" during practice last Friday when he wore wide receiver Calvin Johnson's No. 81 jersey.

But, in discussing the decision, Slay went on to explain his variety of odd nicknames for some teammates.

"I wanted everybody to call me 100 million," Slay said, referencing the seven-year deal Johnson signed in 2012 worth up to $132 million.

In the same practice, safety James Ihedigbo wore wide receiver Golden Tate's No. 15, and Slay said it's because Ihedigbo wanted to be "sticky hands."

Slay calls wide receiver Lance Moore "smooth Lance" and joked he'll wear Moore's No. 16 in practice this week.

"I'm going to be running real slow and joggy with my routes," Slay said.

Wide receiver Corey Fuller, meanwhile, doesn't have such a flattering nickname.

"Wannabe," Slay said. "He wanna be as fast as me so bad, but he cannot beat me. He wants to beat me in running; that's why I call him wannabe."

Running back Theo Riddick is "operator" due to his shiftiness as a receiver.

"Because he's out there breaking ankles, send you to the emergency room," Slay said. Dead leg — ooh! … I be scared he's going to tear something. He (cuts) so fast."

Slay has two nicknames for safety Isa Abdul-Quddus.

"Smack.com," Slay said. "He be smacking folks."

The second is "mannequin" because Slay thinks Abdul-Quddus' game attire, particularly with half sleeves under his pads, looks like what mannequins wear.

"No swag at all. He's a terrible swag guy on our team, none whatsoever," Slay said.

Most of these nicknames were news to the players in the locker room, though.

Tate has a private nickname for Slay, too.

"Lockdown," Tate said. "I won't say it to his face. I don't want him getting too arrogant on me."

Slay never has lacked confidence, but his third season has been by far his best. Opponents have hardly targeted Slay, even with Rashean Mathis out since Week 8 with a concussion. Pro Football Focus named Slay to its Pro Bowl roster Wednesday.

Having played against him during practice, Tate said Slay is comparable to some of the cornerbacks he played with in Seattle from 2010-13.

"He's more athletic than the guys I played with in the past," Tate said. "I think he's going to become lockdown consistently. He is becoming that, but he's going to be that once mentally he understands concepts or all that.

"Right now, I think he's well on his way. ... Slay's good. You can see that people respect him because they don't throw at him too much."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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