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Percy Harvin one more versatile piece to the Seahawks puzzle
Percy Harvin does what he does on the football field, which is considerable and versatile. The Seahawks do what they do offensively, which is a lot but also with the desire to do even more.
So could there be a better fit for Harvin, who was introduced Tuesday as the newest Seahawk after the team acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings?
“So for me, it was a no-brainer. I was telling my agent, ‘Just keep pushing and get this thing done.’ I wanted to be here so bad. … Once my agent called and said Seahawks, that’s where it stopped for me. I said, ‘I’d love to get there, and get me there.’ ”
Harvin was sitting between coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider during his news conference, which was fitting because Harvin is expected to be in the middle of everything for the Seahawks. His primary position is wide receiver, but he also returned kickoffs and was used as a running back in his first four NFL seasons with the Vikings.
Expect that to continue.
“He is such a threat,” Carroll said. “As a wide receiver, he can run and catch the football as well as anybody. But he has a knack for running with the football after the catch that very few players have. It’s because he’s so aggressive and he’s such a tough football player. He’s just a gifted ballplayer, and he understands and feels the game so well you can play him where you can hand the ball to him.
“Percy played in the backfield in college. He played in the backfield for the Vikings. … That’s a tremendous spread of talent that he brings to our club. He will get the ball in his hands a number of ways and he’s going to return kicks for us, too.”
The Seahawks are so enamored with Harvin’s diverse skills that they released Leon Washington on Tuesday, even though he had led the conference in kickoff return average last season and was voted the kick returner on the NFC Pro Bowl squad.
“This is the hard part. These are people’s lives,” Schneider said of Washington, who was acquired in a draft-day trade with the New York Jets in 2010. “We have a very special place in our hearts for him. The hardest part of the business is calling somebody and telling them that we’re going to go in a different direction.
“Leon did a phenomenal job here. The fans love him. He’s such a pro; he really handled himself with extreme class. He understood what we were doing. The first thing you could say about him is he’s a pro.”
Harvin was hoping he’d be able to continue returning kickoffs, but wasn’t sure that would be the case because of Washington’s presence and the lucrative contract he just signed with the Seahawks.
In fact, Harvin likes returning kickoffs so much that when asked which element of his game he would chose if given one last play, he opted for the return.
“Just because that’s going to be the highlight. That’s going to be when all the fans standup,” he said. “That’s the game-changer. So I love that.”
Harvin did not come without a double price tag. The Seahawks gave the Vikings three draft choices to acquire him, including their first-round pick next month. They then gave Harvin the multiyear contract.
But they never blinked.
“This is a highly unique player,” Schneider said. “If you placed Percy in this draft, there would be some pretty strong arguments as to how high he would go, and it would be pretty darn high.”
Schneider then explained that sitting at No. 25 in the first round next month, it would have cost a third-round pick to move up five spots. So why not give that third-rounder (next year) and a seventh-rounder (this year) in addition to the first-rounder to get a player like Harvin? Schneider answered that by calling the decision “really, kind of a slam dunk for us.”
Offered Carroll, “There is not a football player that we could find that can compete more and battles more than this guy right here. So he’ll fit in just right with us.”
Things will be different for Harvin in Seattle. New city. New team. New environment. Even a new number. He wore No. 12 with the Vikings, but the Seahawks retired that number in 1984 in honor of their fans.
Harvin not only understands, he is embracing the switch to No. 11.
“I was good with it,” said Harvin, who was signed on the 12th day of the month and the first day of NFL free agency. “I wouldn’t dare even try to disrespect the fans with this organization by asking for that 12. So 11, I was good with that. I wore that in high school. So it will be good to get another change and go back to home.”
Another change in the making? Harvin was accompanied by his girlfriend, Janine Williams, who is expecting their first child in June.
Make no mistake. Harvin is thrilled to be here, and feels blessed to be here. You could tell by the constant smile he flashed during the news conference. You also could tell because his responses were peppered with the terms “thrilled” and “blessed.”
But it didn’t come easy. After the potential trade took a turn toward a probable trade on Friday night, Schneider and Rick Spielman, his counterpart with the Vikings, worked all weekend to get it done.
“I haven’t slept in three days, just anticipating this opportunity,” Harvin said. “I’m very blessed.”
Said Schneider, “It was a long weekend. But it was obviously well worth it.”
Adrian Peterson, the league MVP last season after leading the NFL in rushing, already misses Harvin.
“The best all-around player I ever seen or you’ll ever see!” the Vikings’ All-Pro running back tweeted on Monday after news of the trade became public. “Goes to Seattle! I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!!”
Harvin is looking for kicks of a different kind, and seems to have found the right team to receive them and deliver them.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I can’t express how much this opportunity means to me.”