RENTON — Percy Harvin can admit now that he had his doubts; that he wondered if his entire 2013 season would consist of limited action in one November game.
But when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked to Harvin this past Monday about the possibility of putting the receiver on injured reserve, Harvin asked his coach for one more chance to see if he could make it back for the playoffs. He worked out for Carroll that day, got a stay on his (season) execution, so to speak, and 10 days and five practices later, he did enough to show his team he is ready to contribute to a postseason run.
“Percy’s playing,” Carroll said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s playing in the game. We’re excited about him going and we’re excited for him. It’s been a long, long haul for a guy who’s such a great competitor and it means so much to. For him to have the opportunity to join us now is really exciting for him and for us to. We love to have him.”
It’s an amazing turnaround from just two weeks earlier when Carroll was talking openly about the possibility of putting Harvin in injured reserve to free up a roster spot. That would have been an incredibly disappointing end to the season for Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisition, who returned from August hip surgery on Nov. 17 only to have swelling and soreness in that hip put him right back on the sideline. He had a season stat line of one catch for 17 yards and one kick return for 58 yards.
When day-to-day became week-to-week, and when the season continued to march on with Harvin unable to get back to full speed, he admittedly began to wonder if it had become a lost year.
“There came a time when I thought about maybe shutting it down, but the guys just kept giving me that positive energy I needed, and it all started to turn around for me and I decided I was going to give it everything I had from there,” he said. “Coach came to me last Monday with the whole IR thing, and I just looked at him and said, ‘Coach, I’m ready to play ball.’ So we talked to the doctors, just kept rehabbing, then I hit the practice field and felt pretty good.”
Asked if he was ready to play following Thursday’s practice, Harvin simply answered, “Absolutely.” Asked if that included returning kickoffs, something Harvin does as well as anyone in the NFL, he again answered, “Absolutely.”
When Harvin played against Minnesota, he was on the field for just 19 snaps, and while Carroll said prior to that game that Harvin wouldn’t return kickoffs, he went back for two in the second half, returning one past midfield to set up a score. Asked if Harvin would again be limited, Carroll made it clear the receiver would not be, saying, “He’s going. I told you if he’s going to go, he’s going, so he’s playing.”
Harvin’s return could provide quite the boost for an offense that struggled a bit down the stretch, adding to Russell Wilson’s arsenal of weapons one of the NFL’s most explosive players, or as Golden Tate put it, a guy who is “Fast as beeeep.” Not only is Harvin as dangerous a playmaker as there is in the league, he’ll also be something of a mystery to the Saints, who have very little tape to study of him in Seattle’s offense.
Yet as much of a difference as Harvin could make, he isn’t looking to come in and change what the Seahawks do. He understands they got to this point—a 13-3 record and the NFC’s No. 1 seed—without him, and that what he brings will be more of a bonus than missing link the Seahawks can’t function without.
“This team has already set the foundation, I’m just looking to jump on the bus and enjoy the ride,” he said.
Harvin also realizes that it wasn’t an easy process for his teammates, coaches or the front office to deal with a long, drawn out injury situation like his.
“It was frustrating for a lot of people, and my hat’s off to this organization just for staying patient with me, so I’m just ready to make it all pay off,” he said.
Harvin, whom the Seahawk acquired in the offseason in a trade that sent three picks, including Seattle’s 2013 first-rounder, to Minnesota, ended up requiring surgery for a torn hip labrum before he ever took part in training camp with his new team. He initially appeared to be coming back ahead of schedule from that injury, and things were looking up when he made his Seahawks debut against his former team, but that excitement was quickly replaced by more injury concern when he was unable to recover physically from that game.
Considering Harvin didn’t make it back from a Nov. 17 game until early January, it is fair to wonder how his hip will respond to Saturday’s game. Neither he nor Carroll could predict how Harvin bounce back from this game, but that’s a bridge they’ll cross when they get to it. For now, they’ll both just enjoy the fact that Harvin is on the verge of contributing in the playoffs two weeks after he nearly landed on injured reserve.
“It goes through my mind here and there, but I’m confident in myself,” Harvin said. “Once I get to the game, I’m just going to cut it loose. I made all the cuts and did all the things in practice that I could do in a game, and I felt no limitations, no swelling came, no setbacks, so I’m going to go out there and give it all I have, and we’ll go from there.”
Carroll said tight end Luke Willson, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in Seattle’s last regular season game, will play Saturday after practicing this week. Safety Kam Chancellor, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a hip injury, was back in action Thursday and is good to go, according to Carroll. Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill was new to the injury report, not practicing with a groin injury.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.