Percy Harvin pulled in a pass on the sideline in front of Richard Sherman, and in the ensuing collision, Harvin was laid out flat.
The practice field fell silent.
In his first organized team activity practice at Seahawks headquarters in Renton on Monday, the franchise’s most valuable offseason addition was down for the count.
The man for whom the Seahawks traded away this year’s first-round draft pick, and who has $25.5 million guaranteed coming his way, was flat on his back.
Sherman bent down toward Harvin’s facemask. Checking for breath or offering a little final smack talk? One can never be sure with Sherman.
The two started laughing, and with an assist from Sherman, Harvin popped to his feet and ran back to the huddle.
This false alarm was the most dramatic moment for Harvin, who otherwise made his presence known mostly in the threat he represents. Once the wide receiver jetted past a Seahawks safety, and another time he unleashed an indescribable move to get open only to see the ball thrown elsewhere.
Perhaps most interesting was how Harvin was used, playing in the slot as well as on the outside. He hinted of future use as a running back, too.
Another surprising quality of Harvin, to those who stood and listened to his after-practice press conference, was that he’s so young.
Starting his fifth season in the NFL, having already earned
honors as an All-Pro kick returner and NFL Rookie of the Year, Harvin is just 24 — a mere six months older than second-year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Although Monday was the first practice for Harvin with the full team in front of the coaches, he said he’s been around for five weeks working to assimilate, trying to mesh with the other receivers and Wilson – who organized and ran the workouts.
“It’s been great,” Harvin said of the preparation for team practices. “Every day we’ve been out here – some days on the weekend – just grinding, trying to get better. We want to be the best team out there this year, and that takes a lot of work.”
Harvin has the potential to keep CenturyLink fans on their feet for seasons to come, whether as receiver, running back or kick returner. In four seasons, he’s had 20 touchdown receptions with four more scores on rushes and five additional on returns.
Last season, he was in the discussion for league MVP at the midway point, with 60 catches after eight games. For context, Sidney Rice led the Seahawks with 50 grabs for the entire season.
“He’s so explosive; he’s a very, very talented football player,” said Wilson, who grew up just down the road from Harvin in Virginia. “He’s very intelligent and loves the game of football. He brings such passion to the game that he’s absolutely relentless – and that’s what we want. We want a guy who can compete and make a lot of plays on the edge, and Percy can definitely do that.”
When a relentless competitor like Wilson cites Harvin for his unrelenting competitiveness, the comment carries weight.
An overlooked value of Harvin, according to coach Pete Carroll, is his familiarity with the current offensive scheme fashioned by Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from their time together in Minnesota.
“He already knows quite a few of the nuances and things,” Carroll said. “He’s very explosive … he’s just lightning fast. You can see why he’s such a factor catching the ball and running and in the kicking game.”
Of the sideline meeting with Sherman, Harvin said there wasn’t really a collision at all, he just lost his footing. “We both had a laugh about it.”
But the most effective humor is based on truth, and Harvin said the receivers and secondary have already been amping up the rhetoric for showdowns soon to come.
“The word around here is competitiveness,” Harvin said. “Anytime I go against Sherman and those guys, we are just looking to make each other better. (The way) I take it, if I can beat those guys, I’ll be pretty good on Sundays against the other guys.”
Harvin already looks threatening to defenders, even if it was only on an afternoon in May.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com @DaveBoling