By Danny O’Neil
You can be concerned about Percy Harvin’s inability to practice Thursday.
You can even be alarmed at the news of his hip injury, worried about the possibility of surgery or just flat-out overwrought that the fancy new toy Seattle got for its office was banged up before it was even completely out of the box.
News that Percy Harvin (11) is starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a hip injury isn’t a surprise given his history of suspense and uncertainty. (AP)
You just can’t be surprised. Not completely, anyway. That has nothing to do with Harvin’s hip injury or the second opinion he’s receiving and everything to do with his history.
He missed 36 practices in 2010, his second year in the league, according to one reporter’s count, so a little bit of drama is just part of the Percy Harvin Experience. He has battled migraines, declared himself to be “not really happy” with the Vikings before the 2012 season and missed an afternoon of minicamp before returning and then sought a trade from Minnesota this offseason.
It was a turbulent tenure. Coach Leslie Frazier made that pretty clear at the owners meetings in June even as he stayed vague about the particulars regarding Harvin.
“There are a lot of layers to this situation,” Frazier said, according to Mike Sando of ESPN.com. “And one day, when [we] sit down and write this book, we’ll divulge all the layers. But it’s complicated.”
Seattle knew this when it acquired him, and for all the concerns and missed practices, he has been there on Sundays. He sat out a total of three games over his first three and a half seasons in the league until a high ankle sprain ended his year in 2012.
Now, for the specifics of this situation: We know that a hip injury kept Harvin out of the final few weeks of the offseason program. He was running full speed just a week ago, but still felt pain in that joint when he reported for training camp and underwent more tests. It appears he has an injury to his labrum, which is the soft elastic tissue at the outside of the joint. Surgery is a remedy coach Pete Carroll didn’t rule out.
He’s going to get a second opinion, which is his right under the collective-bargaining agreement, and there are going to be some nervous moments between now and a decision on treatment.
But this is the uncertainty the Seahawks signed up for when they acquired a guy who was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 and an MVP candidate until his injury last year, but who was available for trade only because of the difficulty he had seeing eye-to-eye with his former employer.
Two things to consider, though, the first being Seattle’s history of player acquisition. Carroll has a pretty firm idea of the kind of player who responds to his coaching. Harvin is a guy he recruited out of high school, and someone he’s familiar with it. He wouldn’t have signed off on this deal if he thought Harvin would become a problem.
The second thing is Seattle didn’t acquire Harvin out of desperation, which is important to note because that’s when teams stretch and start taking gambles. The Seahawks didn’t panic and trade for Harvin because they lacked other options. In fact, their offense was plenty explosive the final month of the season, and they even had two receivers who had seven touchdown receptions apiece last year in Golden Tate and Sidney Rice.
Seattle saw Harvin as one of the league’s very best skill-position players. It looked at his age as he turned 25 this year, his versatility and decided that instead of using the 25th overall pick on a player who would be hard-pressed to start for this team, it would use it as the main ingredient in a trade for a player who could put this team over the top.
None of that calculus changed with Thursday’s news that Harvin has a potentially troublesome hip injury. There was a risk inherent in the acquisition because of the fragility of NFL players, especially one with Harvin’s history. There were bound to be some anxious moments, and the Seahawks acquired him believing they could manage those.
Now, before we assume the worst, let’s wait and see how this situation plays out. After all, suspense and drama have always been constant themes in Harvin’s NFL career.