So much for easing Percy Harvin back into the rotation. The Seattle Seahawks got a taste of their new, not-so-secret weapon on Sunday as Harvin made his presence known to the appreciative crowd at CenturyLink Field.
Harvin’s 58-yard return was in a word, electric. Leading up to the game, it was generally implied or stated that Harvin was not going to return kicks just yet. Seattle was going to be cautious with Harvin’s time.
After Harvin rocketed out of the end zone and crossed midfield, the TV commentator Tim Ryan stated, “He said he wasn’t going to do it…Pete Carroll couldn’t help himself.” Well said.
Carroll was like a kid at Christmas. He just couldn’t wait to get his new toy out of the box.
If you saw Harvin return that kick against the Minnesota Vikings, you sort of understand why Pete Carroll gave his talented star the green light. It is fair to suggest that Harvin exploded out of that end zone. We can be prone to exaggeration and hyperbole in the sports world, but that was an impressive run and Harvin hit the gap with absolutely no fear. Harvin was a broken tackle away from taking that kick to the house.
Harvin also made a spectacular catch on a key third down when he tipped the ball to himself and kept the drive alive. That grab was one of those plays where you get a glimpse into why Harvin is a special player.
To be fair, Harvin wasn’t on the field throughout the entire game. The Seahawks did limit his plays, and Russell Wilson only targeted him the one time. Still, the decision to put Harvin on kickoff returns suggests that Seattle was willing to roll the dice.
There are obviously mixed feelings about how to use Harvin going forward. On the one hand there is wisdom is remaining cautious so that Harvin does not suffer a setback. The Seahawks wants a healthy Harvin for a Super Bowl run. On the other hand, there is the reality that this is still football. There is only so much you can do to limit contact in the NFL.
This isn’t baseball and the Seahawks cannot limit Harvin to pinch-hitting duties. No matter where you put him on the field, he will be susceptible to a hard hit on that hip. The body may be healthy, but the mind can sometimes take longer to recover. Putting him right back into action may be the best way to get him mentally ready for the postseason.
Granted, the Seahawks are timing this well as they can let Harvin rest during the bye week and then have an extra day the following week before facing the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. After that, Harvin may face the most physical test of the regular season when the ‘Hawks head south for a showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.
Welcome to the party, Percy Harvin. We hope you can stick around.