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Tee Higgins dropping No. 85 to avoid becoming 'Ochocinco 2.0': 'No disrespect to Chad'

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Tee Higgins wants to be Tee Higgins. 

He does not want to be the second coming of Chad Johnson — errr, Chad Ochocino.

So he's dropping Johnson's No. 85. The second-year Cincinnati Bengals receiver told ESPN's Ben Baby on Thursday that he's switching to No. 5 next season to avoid association with the former Bengals receiver with a penchant for making headlines on and off the field. 

"I keep seeing on Twitter, 'Ochocinco 2.0,'" Higgins told Baby. "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."

No disrespect, indeed.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) reacts as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 27-24. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Tee Higgins wants "to be Tee Higgins, 1.0." (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Johnson was one of the NFL's best receivers during his 11-year NFL career. He made six Pro Bowls in 10 seasons with the Bengals and retired with 766 catches for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns. As a player, he was a bright light in dark Bengals times.

Higgins would simply like to carve out his own legacy.

"I just feel like Chad's done so much for this organization," Higgins continued. "I just got a good feeling that his number is gonna get lifted one day."

With first-round rookie Ja'Marr Chase catching balls from Joe Burrow opposite Higgins, the Bengals boast a young passing game with tremendous upside. Higgins is coming off a stellar rookie season with 908 yards and six touchdowns. 

There's plenty of space for Higgins to carve out his own corner of Bengals lore. 

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