Tyler Higbee (born January 1, 1993) is an American football tight end for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played college football at Western Kentucky University.
|No. 89 – Los Angeles Rams|
|Born:||January 1, 1993|
|Height:||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight:||255 lb (116 kg)|
|High school:||East Lake|
(Tarpon Springs, Florida)
|NFL Draft:||2016 / Round: 4 / Pick: 110|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 1, 2019|
Higbee was born in Clearwater, Florida. He attended East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where he was a two-sport athlete, in football and baseball. A standout in football, he was named MVP of his team, playing as a wide receiver for the Eagles.
Considered a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, Higbee attended Western Kentucky University to play college football for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. He caught 15 passes for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns his junior year. He caught 38 passes for 563 yards and 8 touchdowns his senior year. He was considered one of the best tight ends prospects in college football.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 6 in
|All values from NFL Combine/Western Kentucky's Pro Day|
On December 14, 2015, it was announced that Higbee had accepted his invitation to play in the 2016 Senior Bowl. On January 23, 2016, Higbee's representatives from Select Sports Group announced they had pulled Higbee from the Senior Bowl due to the knee sprain he suffered during the season. Higbee was one of 15 collegiate tight ends to attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was unable to perform any drills due to his knee injury, but met with teams and had measurements taken. On March 29, 2016, Higbee attended Western Kentucky's pro day, along with Brandon Doughty, Prince Charles Iworah, George Fant, and 11 other prospreper Although he was unable to physically perform, Higbee met with scouts and team representatives and scouts, including St. Louis Rams' General Manager Les Snead. During the draft process, he had private meeting with the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Higbee was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the fourth best tight end prospect in the draft by Sports Illustrated and the fifth best tight end by NFLDraftScout.com.
Higbee was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round (110th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was the 27th player selected in the NFL Draft in Western Kentucky's school history and the highest selection since Joseph Jefferson in 2002. He also was the first player selected from Western Kentucky in 2016 and along with Brandon Doughty, and Prince Charles Iworah, made up the largest draft class in the school's history. On June 9, 2016, the Rams signed Higbee to a four-year, $2.92 million rookie contract that includes a signing bonus of $580,860.
Throughout training camp, he competed for the job as stating tight end against Lance Kendricks, Cory Harkey, Justice Cunningham, and Temarrick Hemingway. Head coach Jeff Fisher named Higbee the third tight end on the Rams' depth chart, behind veterans Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey.
He made his first career start and professional regular season debut in the Los Angeles Rams' season-opener at the San Francisco 49ers and caught one pass for two-yards during their 28–0 loss. His first career reception came on the first pass of the game of a two-yard throw by quarterback Case Keenum, before he was tackled by Tank Carradine and Eric Reid. In Week 9, Higbee caught one pass for a season-high 31-yards during a 13–10 loss to the Carolina Panthers. On December 24, 2016, he caught two passes for five-yards and a touchdown as the Rams lost 22–21 to the San Francisco 49ers. His first career touchdown came on a two-yard pass by rookie quarterback Jared Goff in the fourth quarter to put the Rams up 21–7. He completed his rookie season with 11 receptions for 85 receiving yards and a touchdown in 16 games, with seven starts. Head coach Jeff Fisher was fired after posting a 4-9 record in Week 14 with John Fassel finishing the season as interim head coach.
Higbee entered training camp competing for the starting tight end job left vacant by the departure of Lance Kendricks to the Green Bay Packers in free agency. He competed against rookie second round pick Gerald Everett, Cory Harkey, and Temarrick Hemingway. New head coach Sean McVay named him the starting tight end to begin the 2017 season.
He started the Los Angeles Rams' season-opener against the Indianapolis Colts and made two receptions for 17 yards during their 46–9 victory. On October 8, 2017, he caught a season-high four passes for 98-yards in a 16–10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During a Week 9 matchup at the New York Giants, Higbee caught an 8-yard touchdown reception as the Rams won 51–17. In his first season under McVay, Higbee caught 25 receptions for 298 receiving yards and one touchdown in 16 games and 16 starts.
The Rams finished the 2017 season atop the NFC West with an 11-5 record and received a playoff berth. On January 6, 2018, Higbee started his first career playoff game and had an 11-yard reception in the Rams' 26–13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Higbee again started all 16 games for the Rams and his receptions (24) and receiving yards (292) came close to matching his 2017 totals, while he had a career-high two TD receptions. He caught touchdown passes from Jared Goff in L.A.'s wins over Arizona (34-0) and Seattle (36-31), and he had a career-high six receptions (for 63 yards) in the Rams' 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams repeated as NFC West champions, and hosted the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoff. Higbee had two receptions for 30 yards in the win, which advanced Los Angeles to the NFC Championship Game. Against the New Orleans Saints, Higbee caught four passes for 25 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown from Goff in the third quarter that narrowed the score to 20-17. In overtime, Higbee had two catches for 18 yards on the Rams' game-winning drive, which ended in Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal to send the Rams to Super Bowl LIII. In a defensive struggle against the New England Patriots, Higbee was held without a reception in the Rams' 13-3 loss.
On September 5, 2019, Higbee signed a four-year contract extension worth $31 million ($15.5 million guaranteed) that will keep him with the Rams through the 2023 season.
On April 20, 2016, Higbee was charged with second-degree assault, alcohol intoxication in a public place and evading police, following an incident on April 10, which he brutally assaulted a man of Middle Eastern descent outside of Tidball's night club in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was identified and arrested after fleeing the scene. According to the report, Higbee stated he encountered Nawaf Alsaleh multiple times. The first encounter happened outside of Dublin's Pub, where Higbee stated Alsaleh kept rubbing his head on his and his girlfriend's face multiple times and ignored persisted warnings to stop. Higbee also stated Alsaleh was calling his friends telling them to come to their location to fight Higbee." He was asked by an officer how he understood what Alsaleh said since he spoke language he did not understand and Higbee responded that he "just knew." Once at the jail, Higbee stated to the arresting officer "that Alsaleh never tried to fight him or come after him as if he was going to harm him." Higbee just said that, "Alsaleh got into his and (his girlfriend's) personal space so he hit Alsaleh," according to the report. Multiple witnesses said Alsaleh had his hands down and two white males were seen arguing with him and yelling ethnic slurs before hitting him once. Following the assault, Higbee was quoted as saying "ISIS these [expletive],” and “[expletive] you, go back to your country.” The victim, Nawaf Alsaleh, was found unconscious and unresponsive in the parking lot of the bar and was hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage and concussion.
On July 24, 2017, Higbee pleaded guilty to assault under extreme emotional disturbance in Warren Circuit Court. Judge Steve Wilson accepted a plea agreement where Higbee must complete a pre-trial diversion program, serve 250 hours of community service, and pay restitution to the victim. Alsaleh returned to Saudi Arabia, but was able to meet with Higbee in person, where Higbee sincerely apologized and shook his hand.
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- Cameron DeSilva (September 5, 2017). "Rams release first depth chart of regular season". theramswire.usatoday.com. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
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- Greg Beacham (September 5, 2019). "Rams re-sign TE Tyler Higbee for 4 years through 2023". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- Criminal Charges in Racial Assault
- Adam Stites (April 12, 2016). "Tight end prospect Tyler Higbee arrested for assault 18 days before the NFL Draft". Sbnation.com. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Deborah Highland (July 14, 2017). "NFLer Tyler Higbee pleads guilty to felony assault, avoids jail time". bgdailynews.com. Retrieved January 7, 2018.