By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Receiver Percy Harvin might be back eventually this season, but for now the Seattle Seahawks are moving forward without their priciest offseason acquisition, who will undergo hip surgery today.
And while nobody is pretending like the loss of Harvin won’t make a difference, the Seahawks, and their offense in particular, remain confident in what they can do without the former Vikings star who was acquired in an offseason trade.
“It hurts to lose a guy like that, especially when you have such high expectations for him this year, but we’re not discouraged at all,” said receiver Golden Tate. “We’re still coming out here grinding, working, and we’re going to see how great we can be. We think that we have everything we need to succeed and we’re going to do that.”
There is no doubt that the Seahawks offense would be more explosive with Harvin than without him, but Seattle’s offense was hardly a liability last season, especially later in the year as Russell Wilson and the passing game got going. Over the final 10 games of last season, playoffs included, the Seahawks averaged 32.4 points per game. Over a three-week stretch, the Seahawks scored 150 points against Arizona, Buffalo and San Francisco. They had the passing game to come back in the fourth quarter in Chicago, then go on another winning drive in overtime, and they had the firepower to overcome big deficits on the road twice in the playoffs.
“No, not at all,” receiver Doug Baldwin said when asked if he was worried about the team’s depth at receiver. “We’ve got guys like Jermaine Kearse who are more than capable of doing things on Sundays that we’re not worried about. I hate to say it, but Sidney (Rice) had been dealing with injuries during my rookie season, and we were able to continue to go forward without him. And then Percy wasn’t here last year, so we still have depth and we still have guys on this team that haven’t even had a chance to play football yet on Sundays, and they’re more than capable of filling in if we need them too.
“We’ll be happy when Percy gets back, but we have guys who are more than capable of filling in for him.”
While Baldwin might benefit the most in terms of playing time from Harvin’s absence, Tate could be the player most capable of replicating Harvin’s big-play ability. And if the Seahawks want Tate to take on some of the responsibility that had been intended for Harvin, that’s just fine with him.
“We are very similar players, so things that they had intended on him to do, I’ll be more than happy to do that,” Tate said. “I want to get the ball anyway that I can and I want to try and make a play. I feel like I am really similar to Percy. I feel that at any moment I could make a big play to boost us or give us a go-ahead score or whatever they need. I’m excited about the opportunity to get more reps and help this offense.”
As for how long Harvin will be out, that much won’t be known until after the surgery, but Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is hopeful that Harvin will return this season. Carroll didn’t talk to local media after Wednesday’s practice, but he did update the NFL Network a bit on Harvin’s situation.
“Now that we’ve taken in all the information, Percy does have a chance to get back and we’ll find that out after the procedure, we’ll know what took place and then they’ll make a guess on how long it will take him,” Carroll told the NFL Network. “We’ve got to get him right, got to fix him up and take care of him. We made a big commitment to Percy, we want to make sure he’s 100 percent and ready to go. We look forward to a fast recovery and getting him back out here as soon as possible.”
Carroll acknowledged that Harvin’s loss will hurt in the return game — the Seahawks released Pro Bowl returner Leon Washington after acquiring Harvin — but Carroll otherwise agreed with his players’ sentiments when asked if Harvin’s absence changes the plans for Seattle’s offense.
“It really doesn’t,” he said. “I said from the start we just want to put him into the lineup and be one of the guys out there playing. We really haven’t changed anything. He’s a fantastic football player that we were just going to add into the mix. We’ll miss him on kickoff return, he’s one of the best ever, so that’s an issue for us to fill. Other than that, we’re really happy with our guys, we’re excited about them, we’ve been working hard, and when Percy comes back we’ll just be that much stronger.”
Rookie tight end Luke Willson did not finish practice after taking a hit from safety Winston Guy on a pass play in the end zone. Trainers appeared to be checking Willson’s arm after he left the field. Receiver Stephen Williams also did not finish practice, though it was unclear why.
In addition to the seven players who opened camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list or non-football injury list, 11 more did not suite up Wednesday. Among the notable absences were receiver Sidney Rice, who is still in Switzerland having treatment done on his knee, defensive end Cliff Avril, who has now missed four days with a hamstring injury, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who sat out for the first time with an undisclosed injury. Backup cornerback Jeremy Lane was wearing a protective boot.