FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rashard Higgins couldn't wipe the grin from his face.
The Panthers wide receiver outstretched his arms and called out to his 11-month-old son, Sevin, as the infant took a wobbly stance on the practice field at Gillette Stadium.
Higgins had just wrapped up his first joint practice with the Patriots, but in that moment, the pro football player dressed in a jersey and full pads went into full dad mode.
Sevin tottered carefully, taking his first steps into his father's arms while his mother, Brianna, and Rashard's teammates Brandon Zylstra and Keith Kirkwood clapped and cheered him on.
For Rashard, watching Sevin's first steps on the practice field was nothing short of a proud dad moment.
"It's amazing, honestly," Rashard said. "I couldn't ask for a better gift from God."
Sevin and Brianna frequented Panthers' training camp in Spartanburg, uniting with Rashard before and after practice for hugs and well wishes. Rashard said seeing Sevin smile every time the two lock eyes is the "best part" of his day.
Between the conclusion of camp and Carolina's trip to visit the Patriots, Sevin had been stumbling around and coming close to his first steps.
Brianna told Rashard that Tuesday after practice up in New England could potentially be the perfect time for Sevin to put one foot in front of the other – and her instinct proved correct.
"He's kind of been trying to take his steps, but never really completely just trying to walk," Brianna said. "Now, he's like, 'I'm going to walk to my dad today.'"
Now that his first son has started walking, Rashard said he's ready to have more children.
"I truly believe that (God) is going to give me another one soon," Rashard said. "I'm asking my wife to make that happen and asking Jesus to make that happen as well."
But for now, Rashard gets to end practice days with the Panthers by watching his son stumble over on his short legs to give him a hug, and he can't dream up a better way to spend his afternoons.