“This is what you have him for, to make plays like that,” Russell Wilson said of Percy Harvin.
Sorry, Russell, but you’re going to have to be more specific.
Were you talking about Harvin’s 46-yard kickoff return to start Friday’s preseason game against Chicago, a play that jump-started the first of Seattle’s four straight touchdown drives while also evoking memories of the Super Bowl?
Or was it Harvin’s 25-yard catch in the first quarter, that stop-and-go move he had after catching the ball that put Seattle inside the Bears’ 10?
Or maybe Russell meant Harvin’s 23-yard catch in the second quarter when he cut left toward the center of the field.
The Seahawks may have run away with a 34-6 win Friday, but it was Harvin who ran around, through and sometimes over the Bears’ defense with a performance that wasn’t encouraging so much as it was enlightening.
That is what Seattle got him for, Harvin gaining more than 20 yards on three of the four times he touch the ball.
That is why the Seahawks were willing to not only give up a first-round pick but pay him an average of more than $10 million annually despite the fact that he hadn’t amassed 1,000 yards receiving in any season since entering the league in 2009.
That is what Seattle is going to need this year. Not want, but need.
The Seahawks may have won a Super Bowl last season despite Harvin only appearing in only three of the team’s 19 games after undergoing hip surgery, but they won’t be able to do that again. Not with Golden Tate in Detroit and Sidney Rice retired and Seattle sure to face a season full of opponents whose game plans will invariably focus on stopping the run.
Tate’s team-leading total of 64 catches for 898 yards last year is the baseline of what Seattle will need from Harvin this season, but his performance against the Bears gave a glimpse of just how much more he is capable of providing.
“What Percy brings to the offense is grit,” Wilson said afterward. “A desire to get to the end zone. A desire to get the ball in his hands, make something happen. Every time he touches the football he is either going to run over you or run by you.”
The hip surgery is fading in the rear-view mirror at this point. Given the way Harvin runs, it’s fading quickly.
That injury-plagued season in 2013 is becoming more and more of a memory and with every play, there’s a little less anxiety about his durability, a little more excitement about the asset Harvin will be to this offense.
He was on the field for one snap in the preseason opener at Denver, a running play. He got a few more opportunities in the second exhibition game, catching four passes. The third preseason game turned out to be a showcase for Harvin, an opportunity for him to show that after a largely lost season in 2013, he is ready to turn it loose.
“I’m right on point right now,” Harvin said. “I’ve just got to keep working, keep grinding.”