BEREA, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
When the Cleveland Browns take the field for their 2021 season opener next month, they'll be lining up across from a familiar opponent.
But while some might think that wide receiver Rashard Higgins would fret another matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs -- who ended Cleveland's 2020 season in the AFC divisional round earlier this year-- the Browns wide receiver is opting for a different attitude.
"Hell yeah," Higgins answered on Tuesday when asked if it's a good thing the Browns are opening their 2021 campaign against the Chiefs.
If Higgins' answer was surprising, it's only because it would be understandable if Cleveland's season-ending loss still conjured nightmares for him. On one of the most notable plays of the contest, Higgins fumbled the ball out of the Browns' end zone for a touchback on what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit by Kansas City safety Dan Sorensen.
The play, which occurred with one minute and 42 seconds remaining in the first half, proved to provide a big swing as it prevented Cleveland from cutting the Chiefs' 16-3 lead to one score. Kansas City went on to win 22-17 in a game that Higgins has studied obsessively since it ended.
"I watch it all the time," Higgins said. "I tend to go back to that drive where I got hit and all that. It was like we needed a spark and it was like, 'how can I contribute to the team to help give them a spark? What can I do overall during that game to help give us a spark?' And I feel like the majority of the battles I had that game, I won them, but I could of done it at a higher level."
Cleveland Browns Training Camp Day 6
As for why Higgins has continued to watch last January's matchup: "It ain't no pain for me," he said. "It's motivation. I don't see [anything] as a pain. It's 'how can I get better from that?'"
It won't take long for Higgins to find out.
While the matchup may not be in primetime, one would be hard-pressed to find a more highly anticipated Week 1 matchup than the one between the Browns and the Chiefs. In Kansas City, Cleveland will find itself facing the two-time defending AFC champions and the likeliest roadblock standing between the Browns and the Super Bowl this season.
And just as his initial answer might indicate, Higgins doesn't believe there's any reason to shy away from those expectations.
“Man, if we’re not going to the Super Bowl then we should not be talking,” he said.