Tee Higgins says Joe Burrow's comments 'mean a lot,' as the rookie hopes to continue the tradition of 85

Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins thinks Joe Burrow's comments 'mean a lot,' he's hoping hoping to continue the tradition of 85
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Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was drafted to learn, develop and grow with rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. 

The two could be a perfect match with Burrow's precise accuracy and Higgins' 81-inch wingspan. 

The two rookies haven't met each other in person, but Burrow's recent comments about the death of George Floyd and racial injustice in America resonated with the rookie wide receiver.

"It means a lot," Higgins told Dan Hoard on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "A guy with his platform is just showing that he really cares and this is a guy that is showing his true colors."

Higgins and Burrow have talked in virtual meetings. They hope to workout together before training camp starts next month. 

The rookie duo might be new to the Bengals and to the NFL, but Cincinnati is familiar with their jersey numbers. 

Burrow will wear 9, which was his number at LSU. Higgins decided to wear 85, partially because he couldn't wear 5 — the number he wore at Clemson. 

There are plenty of Bengals greats that have wore the number 85. From Isaac Curtis to Chad Johnson, the number has brought good luck to Cincinnati.

The 21-year-old spoke to Ochocinco to make sure he was OK with him wearing 85.

"I definitely did [reach out] just out of respect," Higgins said. "What he's done for the organization. I just wanted to reach out to him before I even told the equipment guys that I wanted to wear 85.

"I just know he was what they say, 'hey, you can't guard 85.' He was real quick with his feet. He was just unguardable."

Higgins says he wants to keep the tradition going with a number that has participated in seven Pro Bowls since 2003. Johnson made it to six Pro Bowls in his career. Tyler Eifert played in the game after a sensational 2015 season. 

Despite his respect for Johnson, Higgins grew up idolizing A.J. Green. 

"Ever since A.J. Green got there. I've been a fan since he was at Georgia, when he got there I switched over to a Bengals fan," Higgins said on draft night. "He's a big guy working against smaller DBs, and just me being a big guy, I always wanted to see what he'd do and try to go do it on the field the next day in practice. Just watching him growing up, it's crazy."

Higgins and Green have had a couple of phone conversations, but they haven't met in person. 

Both players are 6-4 and 210-215 pounds. The Bengals would like nothing more than for Higgins to become the next Green.

The biggest pre-draft concern with Higgins had nothing to do with his production at Clemson. He finished his three-year college career with 135 receptions, 2,448 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns. 

NFL teams were more concerned with his poor pro day performance. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash and a 1.66 10-yard split. Those two times, specifically the 10-yard split are a big reason why he fell to the Bengals at No. 33.

"I wasn't one hundred percent running that," Higgins said. "There's no excuses."

Not only will Higgins and Johnson wear the same number, but they were both disappointed by their 40-yard dash times prior to the NFL Draft. Johnson ran a 4.57 forty, which hurt his draft stock and allowed Cincinnati to take him with the No. 36 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. 

The Bengals are hoping for similar results from their newest wide receiver. 

"Forty [yard dash] times really don't matter to me," Higgins said. "Obviously the organizations want to see if you're fast or not, but your game film just takes you to another level because there's actually competition on the field with you."

Listen to Hoard's entire interview with Higgins below: