CLEVELAND -- Wide receiver Rashard Higgins played in all 16 of the Cleveland Browns’ games during the 2016 season, and yet, it took him one game after being elevated from the practice squad to surpass everything he had accomplished to this point in the National Football League.
After catching just six passes for 77 yards in 2016, Higgins was elevated from the practice squad Saturday and on Sunday, turned in a seven-catch, 95-yard performance in a 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.
“I practice like I play,” Higgins said. “I came out here and tried to put my team in a winning predicament. That’s all I can do.
“My number was called and I have to just make my plays. When the ball came to me, I just made plays.”
Rashard Higgins shines in regular-season debut with Cleveland Browns
Although Higgins, the Browns’ leading receiver against the Ravens, had limited practice time with the first-team offense in the week leading up to the game, he made a positive first impression on his teammates and coaches alike.
“He made some plays,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “That’s why we elevated him. I needed him. He had a great week and allowed Duke (Johnson) to go back and do some things in the backfield for us. I think that combination was good, a right thing to do. Rashard showed his worth. He played some good football.”
Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan added, “‘Higgy’ is someone we have so much confidence in, so we were glad to have him out there with us on game day. He had a great week of practice. Me personally, I got some work with him after practice, and he made a lot of plays throughout the game. It was something that we really counted on.”
Despite getting waived at the end of the preseason, Higgins remained committed to doing what was necessary to keep alive his dreams of playing in the NFL, and that is exactly what he did in team meetings and practices.
“The people upstairs still believed in me,” Higgins said. “When I was on the (practice squad), I worked every day like I was on the 53. I just kept working and moving forward.”
And just like he did after getting waived, Higgins is committed to doing what is necessary to remain an integral part of the Browns’ offense.
“To me, when I got cut, I used it as motivation,” Higgins said. “I told myself, ‘I don’t want to get cut anymore.’ I worked my (butt) off to get back on the 53-man roster.
“That was the worst feeling ever. I don’t want to go through that again, so I’ll keep working my (butt) off.”