Browns Veteran Unexpectedly Announces New Jersey Number

Getty Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins.

The Cleveland Browns will be seeing more of Rashard Higgins next year, with the wide receiver known as “Hollywood” signing a new, one-year contract this week. However, he’ll look a bit different in the orange and brown when he takes the field.

Higgins announced a somewhat unexpected jersey swap on his social media channels, moving over from his familiar No. 81 to 82.

“This how we rocking this [year],” Higgins wrote with a photo of the new jersey number.

TE Austin Hooper Likely to Wear No. 81

Higgins wore No. 82 in college at Colorado State, but when he landed with the Browns in 2016, tight end Gary Barnidge sported the number. But why change now? Well, tight end Austin Hooper just landed in Cleveland on a big-money deal, and he’s worn 81 during his career with the Atlanta Falcons. Hooper’s Browns jersey is not on sale yet in the NFL Shop and he’s listed without a number on the Browns official site, so maybe he was waiting to strike a deal with Higgins for the number in case he returned to the team.

Hooper will have more than enough cash on hand to give Higgins some nice compensation. His deal for the Browns — which is the highest currently for the tight end position — is for four years, $42 million with $18.5 million fully guaranteed.

After all, with so much transition within the Browns organization, Higgins is now one of the longest tenured players on the team. In fact, a stat started circulation (courtesy Cleveland Sports Talk) that the Browns have drafted 24 wide receivers since returning to the league in 1999, and Higgins was the first to be resigned. Quite the accomplishment in itself.

Rashard Higgins Comes Back to Cleveland for Less Money

Higgins was an unrestricted free agent, but didn’t draw a tremendous amount of interest on the open market. His deal with the Browns was for the veteran’s minimum of $910,000. However, Mary Kay Cabot of reported that Higgins turned down more money elsewhere to return to the Browns to play alongside Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.

Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards and one touchdown all of last year.

In the year prior, Higgins had 39 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs. He also built a strong rapport Mayfield as a security blanket of sorts, with the quarterback speaking up at times about the chemistry he had with Higgins.

“I think he’s a talented young receiver. Has a really good rapport with Baker,” Berry told 92.3 The Fan on the signing Wednesday. “A reliably-handed pass catcher. We’ve always talked about adding competition, depth. This would be in the spirit (of that).”

Along with Higgins, the returning wide receivers for the Browns include Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Damion Ratley, Taywan Taylor, KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery and J’Mon Moore. The team added return man/wide receiver JoJo Natson in free agency and drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones in the sixth round of the draft.

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