On the cusp of breaking two fly sweeps for big gains in the Super Bowl, Percy Harvin inspired Richard Sherman.
“Lord have mercy, it’s Percy!” Sherman said from the bench during the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 thumping of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Harvin would later return the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. These were the kind of explosive plays, and exclamations, expected to be brought by Harvin last season.
They were rare. He barely played after having hip surgery on Aug. 1, 2013. He finished the season with five receptions and three carries in 19 possible games.
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Shortly after the Super Bowl ended, Harvin ran off the field to the Seahawks’ locker room. He preferred to leave the on-field celebrations to his teammates, acknowledging his lack of playing time because of the surgery left him as a small part of the team.
“I didn’t give this team all of what I had last year because of the injuries,” Harvin said recently. “So, now I’m just looking to do what I do.”
Harvin returns healthy at Seattle’s organized team activities (OTAs) after spending last season navigating the fallout from surgery, when he was a $4.9 million cap hit to the Seahawks.
The second week of OTAs, the third phase of Seattle’s offseason workout program, starts Monday.
Harvin’s contract goes up significantly this season. His base salary rockets to $11 million and his cap hit is $13.4 million, the highest of any of the six years the Seahawks have him under contract. An equitable performance is expected.
Harvin is feeling the best he has since before college, which could push him into the punt-return mix. Harvin said he’s practiced it in the past, and that it is quite different than returning kickoffs.
“It’s in the air and it hangs different, and the trajectory of the ball and the way it comes down, it falls a little different,” Harvin said. “That’s why you see a lot of people who kick return don’t automatically do punt return, but I’m going to work at it.”
Beyond the punt returns, the Seahawks would like to see Harvin get back to his career season averages of 70 catches and 27 carries. As would he.
“I’m just happy to be out here, I’m happy to be healthy right now,” Harvin said. “We’re all tuned into what we have to get done this next coming year so we’re all just out here working. It feels tremendously good to get back on the field and be as one.”