Rashard Higgins reiterated Friday he hopes to continue walking the red carpet in Cleveland, where the Browns wide receiver nicknamed “Hollywood” is a fan favorite and trusted target of quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Higgins is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 17.
Asked about his contract situation Dec. 10 in a Zoom session with Browns beat writers, Higgins said, “I would love to be here.” He strengthened his stance Friday during a radio interview with “The Next Level” on ESPN Cleveland WKNR (850-AM).
“Don’t give up on me. I never gave up on y’all,” Higgins said when “The Next Level” co-host Emmett Golden asked him what he wanted to tell Browns fans about his future. “Tell [General Manager] Andrew [Berry] to send the papers, and I’m signing wherever I’ve got to sign. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
More:What should happen with every Cleveland Browns free agent this offseason
The Browns are allowed to negotiate with their impending free agents anytime. Other teams may do so beginning March 15, two days before deals can be signed with the official start of free agency.
More:Baker Mayfield’s red carpet roll part of Browns receiver Rashard Higgins’ redemption
Higgins, 26, said he hasn’t received a contract offer yet.
“We want to see when we can get this contract and stuff done,” Higgins said. “Obviously, if it’s not with the Browns — we want it to be with the Browns — but it’s up in the air right now. We haven’t got no contracts from the guys yet. So everything is just [up] in the air right now.”
More:Browns counting on Rashard Higgins to continue rise with Odell Beckham Jr. out for year
A 2016 fifth-round draft pick, Higgins is the third-longest tenured member of the Browns. He helped them compensate for the loss of star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament on Oct. 25 and finish 12-6, including 1-1 in the playoffs.
He had 37 catches on 52 targets for a career-high 599 yards and four touchdowns in 13 regular-season games, six of which he started. He added seven catches for 116 yards in the postseason.
More:Controversial NFL fumble rule costs Browns; hit to Rashard Higgins by Chiefs not called
Higgins went through free agency last offseason, too. He appeared to be on his way out of town until the Browns reached an agreement with him on a one-year, $910,000 contract in late April, about six weeks after he hit the open market. At the time, Berry had been the GM for about three months, but he was the club’s vice president of player personnel when it selected Higgins out of Colorado State University.
More:Rashard Higgins, Jedrick Wills have drag racing charges reduced, plead guilty to speeding
In September, Higgins said he had contract offers from other teams last year, but Mayfield convinced him he belonged with the Browns.
“I talked to Baker, of course,” Higgins said then. “I was like, ‘You know what, Bake, I’m not even going to second-chance this thing. Cleveland is where I want to be. You’re my boy. Let’s do this thing, bro. We’ve got another year. Nothin’s promised. Let’s just live it up, do what we can, best foot forward and not look back.'”
Higgins wearing a Browns uniform again isn’t promised, though it remains on his wish list.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.