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Rashard Higgins believes he can be big playmaker in Browns offense

One interview with Rashard Higgins, or better known as "Hollywood" to those familiar with his style of play, and it's easy to see why the Browns receiver carries such a nickname.

The former All-American and Colorado State star is brimming with confidence, and a strong showing in Cleveland's rookie minicamp two weeks ago has helped reaffirm that disposition.

"I believe I can be a big playmaker," Higgins said recently. "When the ball's in the air, it's mine."

Higgins, who caught a whopping 238 passes for 3,648 yards and 31 touchdowns over three seasons in Fort Collins, said he wants to bring the same level of production to the Browns sidelines next fall. And in the meantime, Higgins and the rest of the team's rookie class continue to assimilate themselves as Cleveland enters Week Two of OTAs.

"We had one-on-ones and I didn't know what to expect. I thought it was going to be rookies vs. rookies but I lined up across from a vet," Higgins said of the first week of OTAs. "The (coaching staff) wants us to compete at the end of the day, they want to see what we're about and I feel like that's what the rookies came out and did."

And count Higgins as one of the newcomers who's trying to find his place on a team where, as first-year coach Hue Jackson likes to say, starting jobs won't be handed to anyone.

"When I'm going against the vets — not only the vets, but the other rookies as well — I'm just trying to show them that I can actually be a route runner, that I can actually make those plays that they called me in here to do," Higgins said. "When the time comes, I'm going to make my plays so that's what I'm going to do."

In a crowded wide receivers room full of both veterans and rookies (including first-round pick Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis and Jordan Payton), Higgins said he's focused on mastering the playbook — "I'm living in it," he said — and leaning on the advice of older players like fellow receiver Taylor Gabriel.

The Browns took to the practice fields for Day 2 of OTAs - just the second day the rookies and veterans work on field together. (All photos by John Reid)

"The biggest thing the vets tell me to do is get used to the playbook. That's the biggest thing," he said. "They say I've got the talent so don't worry about the talent at the end of the day because I have it. Just know the playbook inside and out."

Higgins, who was part of a Colorado State team that went from 8-6 to 10-3 under former coach and current Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain, said he's bringing a "winner's mentality" to the locker room. The coaching staff, he says, hammers that concept home.

"It's that hard coaching that coaches have to make teams want to win. It's not only the coaches but it has to be driven into the players our well. I just feel like it can't be just the coaches thing to want to win, it has to be the players as well," he said.

"So we've got to come out with that same mentality when we're coming to practice and on game days that we want to win just like the coaches."

And trust that Higgins, who said he feels like he should've been drafted higher, is as motivated as anyone on the roster.

"I know a lot of people were saying, 'man you should've went second round, third round, but at the end of the day it's just a dream come true. As a child you never know what round you were going to go in, you just wanted to go to the NFL," he said.

"Now that I'm here, I've got work to do. I want to be a starter and I want to showcase to everybody what I'm about."

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