Dave Boling: No gradual return when it comes to Harvin

Staff writerNovember 17, 2013 

SEAHAWKS FOOTBALL

Seahawk's Percy Harvin makes an acrobatic first catch as a Seahawk while his former teammates can only watch from the sideline at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. . ( Lui Kit Wong/Staff Photographer)

PHOTO BY LUI KIT WONG — Tacoma News-Tribune

The goal, according to Percy Harvin, was to get back on the field gradually and get his feet under him.

In that, he was a complete failure.

There is nothing gradual about Percy Harvin. In fact, he may be the most sudden and instantaneous individual talent the Seattle Seahawks have ever had.

His first appearance in a Seahawks uniform offered scant but convincing evidence that Harvin will be the dynamic game-changing receiver/returner the team expected when they traded three draft picks (including this year’s first-rounder) to Minnesota for him.

Harvin only touched the ball twice in the Seahawks’ 40-21 win over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field, but the implications of those two plays will be noted around the NFL.

Defensive coordinators around the league harmonized in chorus: You’ve got to be kidding. Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the rest of those guys weren’t enough? Now they’ve got Harvin, too.

Both of Harvin’s touches led to scores, and each showed a different skill set: The 58-yard turbo-boost kickoff return was a function of absurd speed, and the 17-yard fingertip reception a display of his ability to get separation and pull in anything that comes near.

The speed? Well, he ran a world-class 10.01 time in the 100 meters — while still in high school.

“Oh, we’ve seen that all week,” said fullback Mike Robinson, who also blocked on the kickoff return for Harvin. “We almost couldn’t even practice (returns) because he was going so fast. I have never seen anybody — anybody — move like that. It’s like he’s playing the game in fast-forward.”

Safety Earl Thomas could see during the week of practice that Harvin “makes our offense totally different; you add him to the mix and it’s unbelievable. When he gets the ball, he’s just floating out there, very smooth and fluid.”

Thomas presented his highest compliment: “He kinda looks like me out there ... but on offense.”

Harvin’s performance was the first deferred payment on the Seahawks’ investment (6-year, $67 million contract). Hip surgery Aug. 1 caused him to miss the first 10 games.

After the game, Harvin revealed that he not only had surgery for the ankle injury that sidelined him the second half of last season in Minnesota, but he also had an appendectomy, which included the removal of a tumor on his appendix.

There’s more to Harvin’s arrival than what we saw on the field, as other Seahawks after the game spoke of his dedication and commitment.

While vague updates of his recovery seeped out of Seahawks headquarters the past few months, tackle Russell Okung (toe surgery) was rehabbing alongside of Harvin, and came to appreciate what he saw in Harvin’s approach.

“We’ve been staring at each other every day ... he was tenacious in his pursuit to get back — tenacious,” Okung said. “For him to go out there and have that kind of performance with that few touches, I can’t wait to see what he does when we let him loose. The sky’s the limit.”

This might be like pointing out that a swanky luxury car also happens to get good gas mileage, but Harvin spent a number of plays blocking on runs, and he’s exceptional at that, too.

Robinson says that should not be a surprise, because it’s reflective of the attitude that Harvin has shown since he arrived in Seattle.

“The thing about Percy is that his attitude is so great,” Robinson said. “He didn’t come in here and say, ‘Look, you gotta get me the ball.’ He said, ‘I just want to be a part of this offense, and I’ll make my plays as they come.’

“To have that kind of attitude when you know you’re as gifted as he is, that’s a sign of maturity and it’s a sign of the type of guy he is — team first all the way,” Robinson added. “And, man, it’s exciting.”

Exciting, yes. The Seahawks are now 10-1, and with San Francisco’s loss to New Orleans, they have a three-game cushion in the NFC West division, the best record in the NFC, and have a week off with a bye.

And on top of it, they enter the home stretch of the season with the game’s most explosive player joining their roster.

The situation was ideal for his return.

“It was perfect for me to come in and not try to feel like I had to be the savior or had to do something out of the ordinary,” Harvin said.

Well, he failed in that, too. Because just about everything this guy does on the field is out of the ordinary.

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440

dave.boling@thenewstribune.com

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