Percy Harvin returns to NFL in time for return to Seattle
SEATTLE — Two years have passed since the Seattle Seahawks gave up on their experiment.
Percy Harvin was the subject of Seattle’s trial, seeing if one of the most dynamic talents in the NFL could mesh and supplement the structure of the Seahawks system.
The results of the Harvin experience were so muddled and so incomplete that two years after Harvin was traded midseason from Seattle to the New York Jets, it’s still difficult to provide a definition to his time with the Seahawks.
Yes, he did have a part in the Seahawks winning their only Super Bowl title. Yes, he caused internal strife that eventually led to his departure from Seattle.
But ask those who shared the locker room with Harvin during his time in Seattle and as he prepares for an unexpected NFL return with the Buffalo Bills visiting the Seahawks on Monday night, and there is no criticism of Harvin’s time in the Pacific Northwest.
“I loved him when he was here. I loved him as a person and as a teammate,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I’m excited that he’s back on the field.”
Of course it’s this week that Harvin is coming out of retirement. The story line is just too good. With Buffalo thinned at wide receiver because of injuries, Harvin was the option turned to by the Bills for additional depth.
Whether he is active and how much he plays on Monday night is still to be determined, although Buffalo coach Rex Ryan sounded confident that Harvin would play against the Seahawks.
“He looks good out there,” Ryan said. “You know the conditioning part of it and doing the football-specific things, obviously, they’re not to where he would be if he was here the whole time. But I think he can help us.”
Harvin has led a nomadic NFL existence since he was traded from Minnesota to Seattle before the 2013 season. He spent all of 1½ seasons in Seattle, appeared in six regular- season games and scored just one touchdown.
He had a pair of locker room incidents that never came to light until after he was traded in the middle of the 2014 season, and was such a bad fit for Seattle’s offense the best option was a trade to the Jets.
“When he was here, we used to say he was like the Bugatti, you just bring it out on game day,” Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril said. “So it’s kind of the same thing. They went and got a Bugatti, I guess.”
But for all the unfulfilled potential of what Harvin’s tenure in Seattle ended up being, he’ll forever hold some reverence for his time with the Seahawks because of his Super Bowl performance that included a 87-yard kickoff return touchdown to open the second half.
“Great Super Bowl, phenomenal effect he had on us then,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We just had to make an adjustment on the roster and we did it. It was just something we had to do football-wise.”
Harvin’s biggest issue in recent years has been injuries, a trend that started when he needed hip surgery before ever playing a game with the Seahawks.
Last season with Buffalo, Harvin was limited to 19 catches for 218 yards and one touchdown before undergoing right knee surgery in January.
The Bills need whatever help they can get at receiver. Top threat Sammy Watkins will miss at least another two weeks with a left foot injury. No. 2 receiver Robert Woods is playing despite aggravating an injury to his right foot. On the bright side, speedster Marquise Goodwin has been cleared to return since missing one game with a concussion.
Harvin said there’s no grudge toward how things went in Seattle.
“I’m just a player who likes to play at the level I expect of myself, and the level that my peers expect me to play at,” Harvin said.
“I’ve never been a guy to hold on to grudges, to want to get back at anybody. I keep trying to tell everybody I have lot of good relationships still with the Seattle guys over there, with the player personnel, with the strength coach. Man, he still sends me emails on a daily basis.
“There’s still a lot of love there no matter what the perception of what things went on there. They still have love for me. I have love for them. We won a Super Bowl together. So it’s love over here.”