CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins has been very clear about how much he loves playing in Cleveland—but it's more than passion for a paycheck for Higgins, it's a love for his teammates and the fans that has kept him in orange and brown.
Earlier this month, Higgins expressed his desire to re-sign with the Browns as free agency approached, asking general manager Andrew Berry to “send the papers, and I'm signing wherever I've got to sign.”
“Don’t give up on me. I never gave up on y'all,” Higgins said at the beginning of March.
The fans never gave up hope, and the Browns got a deal done, signing Higgins to a 1-year deal worth $2,377,500.
“Honestly, I knew where I wanted to be, let’s say that. I knew where I wanted to be. Obviously, there were a lot of teams hitting on me, and I had decisions, but why not be a Cleveland Brown? I feel like all of the pieces to the puzzle are in place,” Higgins said.
The chemistry between Higgins and quarterback Baker Mayfield has been undeniable since No. 6 first took the field his rookie season in 2018. That chemistry was another major factor in Higgins' decision to stay with the Browns.
“I have my quarterback. I have everything in line like I want it to be, and I'm just glad to be a Cleveland Brown,” Higgins said. “Baker is always going to be there for me – there is no question about that. At the end of the day, when I did weigh my options, it only made sense. Here I am. I'm a Cleveland Brown, and I'm looking to run this thing back.”
The wide receiver said that he had other offers from other teams and insinuated that those offers were a million or two higher than his deal with the Browns, but called less pay to rejoin his teammates in Cleveland a “no-brainer.”
“To go somewhere for another million or another two million, then you start over with a whole other quarterback, and then you start over with a whole new playbook. It's just like, what in another team would you be looking for? We just made a playoff run. We have everything I need here with the Cleveland Browns. Why not?” Higgins said. “I definitely had other offers on the table, but this was one that was a no-brainer.”
Beyond the money and the loyalty to his teammates, Higgins had one other factor that made re-signing with the Browns that much easier—the fans.
“The fan support for me in Cleveland is unbelievable. I have fans reaching out from Canada, from London, it's unbelievable. To say Cleveland isn't the best fan base in America, I don't know if there is a better fan base. Weighing my decision, did the fans have an impact on it? I can say yeah,” Higgins said. “Obviously, I love our fans, they love me, and at the end of the day, this is somewhere that I want to be. Honestly, it was a no-brainer for me weighing my options, so here I am. The fans still love me. I think they would still love me regardless if I go anywhere. I'm just excited to be a Brown, and they are, too.”
As Berry continues to make moves this offseason, improving the roster in any way he can in hopes to push the Browns past the point of a single win in the playoffs and into the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, Higgins is confident in his GM, his teammates and himself.
“Andrew Berry did a hell of a job doing what he had to do to put us in position to succeed. We believe in this staff, we believe in each other and we have what it takes,” Higgins said. “Why not run it back and do what we did but even better this year?”
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.