Former Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins wants to make a name for himself in the NFL.
That is a big reason why the Cincinnati Bengals’ second-year wide receiver no longer plans to wear No. 85 after this season.
Higgins said Thursday that this will be his last year wearing that number and then he will go back to No. 5 — the number he wore at Clemson — in large part because he doesn’t want to be in the shadow of Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, the former Bengals great who wore No. 85.
“I keep seeing on Twitter, ‘Ochocinco 2.0,'” Higgins said, via ESPN. “I don’t want to be a 2.0. No disrespect to Chad. He’s a great receiver, this and that. I just don’t want to be a 2.0 for myself, man. I want to be Tee Higgins, 1.0, No. 5.”
Wide receivers are allowed to wear single-digit numbers this season due to a new rule change that was passed over the offseason.
Higgins initially planned to switch from No. 85 to No. 5 if he scored 10 touchdowns this season. But he has decided to shed the No. 85 regardless, and he feels like it might be a moot point one day anyway if Johnson’s number gets retired by the Bengals.
“I just feel like Chad’s done so much for this organization,” Higgins said. “I just got a good feeling that his number is gonna get lifted one day.”
Johnson has the most receptions (751), receiving yards (10,783) and touchdowns (66) in Bengals franchise history.
Higgins, who was selected by the Bengals in the 2nd round (33rd overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft, recorded 67 receptions for 908 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie last season.