CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 20, 2021.
Rashard Higgins wants to stay in Cleveland. The Cleveland Browns want him to too.
Yet as of Wednesday, the sixth-year wide receiver remains less than two weeks away from hitting the free-agent market.
Last week, Higgins told ESPN 850 WKNR's "The Next Level" that despite free agency set to begin on March 15, he had yet to receive an offer from the Browns. That, however, didn't stop him from making a public plead to Andrew Berry, who is entering his second offseason as Cleveland's general manager.
"Don't give up on me; I never gave up on y'all," Higgins told co-hosts Je'Rod Cherry and Emmett Golden. "Tell Andrew to send the papers and I'm signing wherever I've got to sign."
Speaking to reporters on a Zoom call on Wednesday, Berry was given the chance to respond to Higgins' comments. And while he stated the interest between the two sides was mutual, he also acknowledged there were other factors at play that might determine whether Higgins returns to Cleveland in 2021.
"I won't touch on the specific dialogue that we've had, but suffice to say, we'd like to have Rashard back," Berry said. "Obviously, he played a key role for us this past year and we have a really positive history with him.
"But look, free agency can be difficult and obviously he's really earned the right to make the decision that's most appropriate for him. And we'll maintain consistently good communication with him and his reps and we'll see where it goes."
As for why it might be difficult for the Browns to re-sign Higgins, it's worth noting that the league's salary cap is expected to drop in 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Cleveland also already has two wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry under contract at high figure salaries and figures to be active this offseason in improving its defense.
So while the interest between the Browns and Higgins might be mutual, the reality remains he may be the odd man out in Cleveland. In 13 games last season, the 2016 fifth-round pick totaled 37 receptions for 599 yards and four touchdowns.