Percy Harvin at a Seahawks practice Credit: Courtesy of Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks own one Super Bowl record, although it's recognized only in Seattle: Most times bludgeoned by erroneous interpretation of rules, single game. While the return to practice of WR Percy Harvin this week cannot influence that 8-year-old mark, believers in karma might think the Seahawks are finally getting paid back for the debacle in Detroit.
The Seahawks may be the first team to add an elite veteran player between conference championship and the Super Bowl. That, of course, is contingent upon Harvin not getting struck by a meteor between now and Feb. 2.
"I feel good," Harvin told reporters Thursday at the Seahawks' practice facility. He was upbeat, even thrilled. Nothing is final until the kickoff at MetLife Stadium sails into the wind-driven snow, but he has passed the concussion protocol that kept him out of the NFC Championship win, and owned up to no problems with his surgically repaired hip after being rocked by the Saints in the previous game.
"It was good to get back out there with my guys," Harvin said. "I don’t think anybody is not feeling good going up to the most prized possession in our profession, the Super Bowl."
Harvin's health setbacks have been sufficient that no one around the team will allow giddiness to precede the global introduction of perhaps the NFL's fastest player, for whom the opponent has precious little scouting video.
But facts are facts. No. 11 running around in Renton this week was not a poltergeist.
"He looks fine," said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. “It’s pretty cool for him. He’s worked really hard; he’s just had some unfortunate things happen to him this year.
"Everyone on the team, all of the coaches . . . it’s obvious when he’s on the field the impact he can have on the game. We want to give him every opportunity. I’m sure he wants it as well.”
For his part, Harvin refused to let his travail — an Aug. 1 surgery to repair a labrum tear in his hip confined his regular season to 19 snaps in one game — compromise his public posture of optimism.
"It’s been a roller coaster, but it’s all been a blessing," he said, ramping up his happy face. "I wouldn’t take anything back that has happened this year. It’s made me a stronger person.
"It’s definitely been frustrating for a lot of people. My teammates, Doug Baldwin and some of the guys that play my position, (are) coming in and out, not knowing when I’m going to be at practice . . . It’s all over with now, all in the past.”
Unlike many fans who felt he was targeted by the Saints to knock him from the Seahawks' first playoff game — a first-quarter hit drew a personal foul for hitting a defenseless receiver, but the blow that created the concussion was a hard fall to the turf — Harvin bore no malice.
"It was just us playing football," he said. "It was unfortunate, some of the hits, but I didn’t think they were targeting me. I just thought they were playing football.”
During his five seasons in Minnesota, Harvin missed some playing time with migraine headaches, the mysterious disorder that invites skepticism from some, none of whom have had one. But there was no correlation between past headaches and the caution surrounding his absence from the 49ers game.
"There were no complications," he said. "We just had to go through the protocol."
Harvin had nothing but compliments for the Seahawks' handling of his health, not surprising given the investment in him — a six-year, $67 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus and $2.5 million in base salary this season, part of $25.5 million that is guaranteed.
“It’s unique on so many levels — the way they take care of the players," he said. "Everybody is always on the same level with the way they treat people, with my situation and my teammates being there for me.
"The whole building, from the cooks on down, everybody was coming talking to me. Just this whole atmosphere. It’s kind of hard to put it in words. But it is different.”
His time on the sidelines put him in the emotional position of a fan. Asked how he reacted when Malcolm Smith's end-zone interception sealed the trip to the Super Bowl, he said, "I couldn’t even describe how I felt. I don’t think anybody could put in words to know that we actually made it to the Super Bowl."
The Seahawks' man of mystery can go a long way to marginalizing the mystery of Detroit.
Art Thiel is all over the Super Bowl and the Seahawks' preparations for the big game. Thanks to our sponsor MTR Western, a motor coach service for college and pro sports teams. Find out more about MTR Western by clicking here.