Harvin can’t catch break, exits with concussion

Staff writerJanuary 11, 2014 

SEAHAWKS

Seahawks tight end Luke Willson checks on wide receiver Percy Harvin after Harvin was shook up on a pass attempt.

TONY OVERMAN — Staff Photographer

— Music blared from all corners of Seattle’s locker room. With jerseys and shoulder pads off, defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant grabbed each other’s hands and danced around in a circle.

All was joyous after the Seahawks wrapped up a 23-15 NFC divisional playoff victory over New Orleans at CenturyLink Field on Saturday afternoon.

Well, almost everyone was in full celebration mode — and players were reminded of that as soon as wide receiver Percy Harvin emerged in street clothes, heading for the exit.

Much was expected in Harvin’s return Saturday. He led the Seahawks with three receptions for 21 yards, and his 9-yard run on an end-around play set up Marshawn Lynch’s first touchdown run.

But he also took two vicious hits to the head. The second one, at the end of the first half, knocked him out of the game, leaving his status for next weekend’s NFC championship game up in the air.

Based on how he greeted teammates who came up to him after the game, Harvin seemed lucid. He chatted with each of them, nodding his head as if to tell them he would be fine.

“You almost feel sorry for him, man,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said. “He was fighting so hard to get back.”

The team’s prized offseason acquisition just can’t seem to catch a break. Acquired and signed to a five-year, $25.5 million extension last March, he injured his hip so severely during an offseason workout, it required surgery that kept him out for much of the regular season.

He debuted Nov. 17 against his old team Minnesota, catching one pass and running back one kickoff return in limited playing time. Soreness then flared up, serious enough that the Seahawks considered placing him on season-ending injured reserve.

But over the past 10 days, he told the team he felt better — and looked extremely explosive in practice as Seattle entered the postseason.

“I didn’t get any (repetitions) at his position this week,” Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We expected him to be able to play the full game.”

Harvin came in on the team’s second play from scrimmage Saturday, immediately caught a screen pass but was dropped for a 1-yard loss.

On the next play, quarterback Russell Wilson targeted him deep down the left sideline. Reaching out for the pass, Harvin was hit high by New Orleans safety Rafael Bush, who was called for a personal-foul penalty.

On the bench, Harvin was tended to by four team medical personnel members. Minutes later, his helmet was taken. As he headed for the locker room for concussion evaluation, he was visibly animated he was being taken out of the game.

“He is from Virginia,” Robinson said. “I already knew he was going to get up and come back in the game.”

Harvin returned in time for the team’s next offensive series, and early in the second quarter, his run came right before Lynch’s up-the-middle 15-yard touchdown run.

“When Percy ... was out on the field, he was electric,” Wilson said. “He made some awesome plays today. His speed is unbelievable — you notice that.”

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half and the Seahawks knocking on the door at the Saints’ 8, Wilson tried lofting a pass to Harvin in the left end zone.

Harvin laid out for the pass, and was crunched by safety Malcolm Jenkins up high.

This time when Harvin left the game, he did not return — finishing with a total of 17 snaps, all coming in multiple-receiver sets.

“Obviously we want Percy out there. He is a very explosive player — probably one of the most explosive players out there in the league,” said Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, a Lakes High School and University of Washington product. “When he went down, it kind of went back to how it had been the whole season with us three (Baldwin, Kearse and Golden Tate). We had to adjust a little bit because throughout practice we had Percy in certain spots, so Doug had to move over.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Harvin would be evaluated through NFL-mandated concussion protocol this week, and had no idea what the receiver’s status would be for next weekend.

“The poor kid,” Carroll said. “He finally gets to play and he banged his head against the turf really hard. He was OK the first time, but the second one really rocked him.

“Unfortunately he was just sick about the thought that he couldn’t go back out.”

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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