A day after he was elevated from the practice squad, Rashard Higgins put on a show, emerging as a bright spot in an otherwise bleak offensive performance in Baltimore.
The second-year Browns receiver set career-highs in catches (seven) and yards (95) on 11 targets in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. The performance was something of a breakout game for Higgins, who contributed little in limited opportunities as a rookie last season.
"It's just one of those things where when you get your opportunity, you just make the best of it," he said Monday. "I always have confidence in myself. For me to showcase it yesterday, that was when my time came."
It was also a feel-good moment for Higgins, a former fifth-round pick, who was waived the day after cut-down day earlier this month. Signed to the practice squad shortly thereafter, the former Colorado State standout said that turn of events was motivation to work harder and earn his way back to the active roster.
One of the first people to reach out to Higgins — whom head coach Hue Jackson said "showed his worth" this past weekend — was former Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins, who retired in July. Higgins said the veteran taught him a lesson he won't soon forget.
"He said you can't coach effort, and the one thing that Hawk did was show effort in everything he did," Higgins said Monday. "If it was run play, he'd block a man over. If it was catching the ball and turning up the field, that's what he did. And he did it every day at practice as well."
Higgins turned those words into action Sunday, playing a career-high 54 of 71 offensive snaps. And with fellow receiver and 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman out indefinitely with a broken hand, Higgins could see his role increase as Cleveland searches for playmakers in the passing game.
"We have to go coach the guys that we have here," Jackson said. "I think the guys that are on our football team have to step up and play. Just like we saw Rashard go there and play extremely well yesterday and do some good things, who is going to be the next guy that steps up and take the opportunity and make something happen? That's what we have to do."
And Higgins, who said he viewed his demotion from the 53-man roster as an opportunity and not a "downfall," won't soon forget the wisdom Hawkins shared with him.
"He never complained," he said, "he just got the job done and I want to be like that."