NFL

Percy Harvin's Injury Woes Turn Seahawks' Trade into a Bust

USA Today
Mike FreemanNFL National Lead WriterDecember 1, 2013

Percy Harvin has always been one of the NFL's great allures. In many ways, he is a general manager's version of porn. In fact, one scout this week described Harvin's route running as "sensual." He was only half-kidding.

Harvin moves effortlessly, like he's being powered by some sort of technology, instead of muscle and bone. I've had defensive assistants swear Harvin was consistently the scariest player they schemed against because of his ability to alter games in an instant.

But some of those same coordinators would also say that many times those plans weren't needed because Harvin so often ends up being hurt or limited.

They watched as Harvin missed games or was ineffective due to injury. He was a mixed bag. As his career continued, the view some coaches and personnel men had of Harvin was downgraded—like his injury status many times—from spectacular to who-the-hell-knows-what-he-will-be.

On Monday, the Seahawks will host the Saints in Seattle's biggest game of the season, and one of the biggest acquisitions the Seattle franchise has ever made will again likely be on the sideline.

Coach Pete Carroll told reporters Harvin is listed as doubtful due to soreness in his surgically repaired hip. The soreness comes after he played in his first game for Seattle on Nov. 17.

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 4: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings is tended to on the field during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks 30-20. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

It's fair now to take a hard look at this trade, and it's also fair to say the trade has been a bust for the Seahawks. Not an all-time bust. Not a Herschel Walker-for-an-entire-draft bust. But a bust.

Trades are sometimes impossible to evaluate. They are like pieces of modern art. One man's good trade is another man's bungled one.

I thought Trent Richardson would do well in Indianapolis and that the Colts got the best of the Browns, but that was a mistake. The Browns knew Richardson ran as fast as a stegosaurus and went down with little contact.

Now, Richardson has been benched. That trade can be measured quantitatively. The Browns win it unless Richardson morphs into Jim Brown.

The Harvin trade can also be easily measured. It goes like this: Harvin has played in one game for Seattle. He has a single catch for 17 yards and a return for 58. That's it. That's all. That's not good.

So for that one catch, the Seahawks gave up a first-round pick in 2013 as well as a third and seventh in 2014.

Harvin could still have an impact this year, but it's OK to question his future since so much of his past is about being hurt.

Harvin has played in a total of 55 regular-season games. But there have been 32 instances where Harvin has been listed as questionable, doubtful or outright missed the game, according to his injury history at KFFL.com.

The fact that Harvin plays hurt is a credit to him, but the fact that he is hurt so much is troubling. It's also clearly a trend.

There could be a football miracle, and Harvin might suddenly stay healthy starting now and continuing for the rest of his career. But if you believe that, you believe in fat dudes wearing red suits sliding down the chimneys in the homes of strangers and not getting shot.

This will be Seattle's reality with Harvin. There will be moments when he can provide that explosion. There will be more moments where Harvin is on the sideline with an injured something, or busted this, and torn that or a loose thingamajig.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 25: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 25, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minneso
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

One of the big reasons why the Vikings made the trade was because they felt Harvin was already physically breaking down. His 5'11", 200-pound frame just couldn't take the weekly pounding of an NFL game, the organization believed privately, so let's get what we can for him (there were other reasons, but that was the big one).

The Vikings were probably right.

This was a huge trade when it happened and will likely be talked about for years to come. Who won, who lost, what happened?

Here's what happened: The Seahawks fell the Harvin allure, and what they got was Harvin on crutches. They had better get used to that image. If Harvin's past is an indicator, it will be there for a long time. 

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