‘Just precautionary’: Bengals’ Higgins limited in practice

CINCINNATI — Fans watching Monday’s practice took a collective gasp when Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins lingered on the grass following a collision at the end of a play during an 11-on-11 team drill.

When Higgins, 24, got to his feet on a wet and rainy day in downtown Cincinnati, the crowd cheered as he went back to the huddle.

Throughout training camp, Higgins has been limited in various capacities. After practice, Higgins said the tumble left him unscathed, but protecting himself has played a role in his practice participation ahead of the upcoming season.

“Just precautionary things,” Higgins said about being limited. “Just out there talking to coach Troy (Walters) and going back and forth. Being able to take some team reps off, just do individual and stuff like that. But actually getting back in there, being in there with the guys feels good.”

The fourth-year player out of Clemson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Higgins has been seeking a contract extension. Higgins did not specify the need for protection when asked about it on Monday but said that he is eager to potentially get some reps in one of the team’s final two preseason games.

“Definitely to protect myself,” Higgins said when asked about taking precautions. “But I definitely want to play at the end of the day.”

Earlier on Monday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor was asked about Higgins’ lack of participation during team drills in Cincinnati’s joint practice against the Green Bay Packers last week. Taylor dismissed the notion that Higgins has been injured.

“He’s doing great,” Taylor said.

Higgins has dealt with various soft-tissue injuries throughout his career. In 2020, his rookie season, Higgins had a hamstring issue that hampered him in his first training camp. Last year, he also had a hamstring injury midseason that forced him to miss nearly the entirety of Cincinnati’s Week 14 win over Cleveland.

After dealing with a hamstring issue in the week leading up to that game, Higgins snuck onto the field for the team’s opening play and didn’t take another snap the rest of the game.

Higgins has been eager to get snaps throughout training camp, even if he has been limited at times. That includes being on the team’s practice fields in the rain on Monday.

“Every rep is valuable,” Higgins said. “Especially in the rain, because you never know when you’re going to get a rainy game.”

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