WR Rashard Higgins and LB Christian Kirksey to retire as Cleveland Browns (4.16.24)

For Immediate Release

April 16, 2024


BEREA, Ohio – WR Rashard Higgins and LB Christian Kirksey will sign one-day contracts and retire as members of the Cleveland Browns.

“We are thrilled that Rashard and Christian wanted to come back and retire as Cleveland Browns,” said JW Johnson. “Both players obviously made an impact on the field, but they each made a lasting impression in the Cleveland community as well. It’s a testament to who they are as individuals, and we are honored to have them retire as part of our Browns family.”

Higgins was selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played six seasons (2016-21) in Cleveland, appearing in 82 games and recording 137 receptions for 1,890 yards with 12 touchdowns. Nicknamed “Hollywood” by his pee-wee football coach, Higgins was a favorite amongst his teammates and with Browns fans, thanks in part to his infectious personality. He provided his best performances against AFC North Division rivals. His career high for receptions was set at Baltimore, his career high receiving yards came at Cincinnati and his only career multiple touchdown game was in Pittsburgh. A product of Colorado State, Higgins led the nation in 2014 with 1,750 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns receptions, both of which were single-season school records.


Higgins was extremely active in the Cleveland community volunteering at numerous youth football, military appreciation and Special Olympics events. He made a direct impact on the youth of Cleveland during school visits and organized bowling events to unite the community. During the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats initiative, he raised funds and awareness for the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Ohio (2021), Providence House (2020), Animal Cruelty/Mesquite Animal Pawtners (2018) and kidney disease (2017).


A third-round selection in 2014, Kirksey played six seasons (2014-19) with the Browns. During that time, he appeared in 73 games and registered 463 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He served as a captain in each of his final three seasons with the club. Kirksey finished among the NFL leaders in tackles in 2016 (third with 143) and 2017 (fourth with 138). Following Cleveland, he played for the Packers (2020) and Texans (2021-22).


He was named the Browns 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and also the Texans 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, earning the rare distinction of being the nominee of two different teams for one of the league’s most prestigious awards. Kirksey was also voted by the Cleveland media as the 2016 PFWA Dino Lucarelli Good Guy award winner.


Giving back to youth and social equality initiatives were important core focuses for Kirksey when volunteering his time in the community. He created the Kirkoland Foundation with the purpose to aid and encourage individuals to be them, be proud, be their own rockstar. Kirksey provided opportunities for local kids in need, including bowling events, youth football camps, fashion shows, bringing kids to Cedar Point and sporting events. Kirksey also dedicated numerous hours visiting neighborhoods in Cleveland and routinely met with kids at local recreation centers alongside of safety forces who work in the neighborhoods to promote unity.