Percy Harvin was once viewed as one of the NFL’s most electric weapons and a rising star after being drafted by the Vikings out of the University of Florida. In four years in Minnesota, he racked up nearly 4,000 yards from scrimmage and 24 total offensive touchdowns, with five more coming via the return game. Harvin was so productive over that period, that the Vikings were able trade him to Seattle for a first and seventh-round pick.
The Seahawks quickly signed him to a lucrative six-year, $67 million extension, but from there on out, it was all downhill. A torn labrum limited Harvin to just one game during the 2013 season, his first in Seattle. However, he was able to appear in the Super Bowl, and he made his presence felt, returning a kickoff for a touchdown, adding to the route of the Denver Broncos. However, in that same game, there was allegedly a locker room altercation with Golden Tate, which was one of many red flags that popped up during his tenure in Seattle.
The following year Harvin was traded to New York, after appearing in just seven games for the Seahawks, including the playoffs. He only played in eight games for the Jets that year and was released at the end of the season. The Bills picked him up on a one-year deal, but he was limited to just five games because of injury. He retired the following offseason, but it didn’t last long; he re-signed with Buffalo late in the season but only played in two games before retiring again.
Now, three years later — once a must-watch player in the league — Harvin is eyeing a return to the NFL, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Breaking: Former 1st-rounder, FA WR Percy Harvin tells me: “I’m ready to return to the NFL. I thought I was done, but that itch came back. I’ve been training w/a former Olympian. My body is feeling good. Mentally I’m better. My family is good. The timing is right.” He's 185lbs. pic.twitter.com/NQaadbF73B
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 22, 2020
And according to Peter King of NBC Sports, he views the Falcons as a possible landing spot:
I think if I were a coach with interest in buying a lottery ticket for an offensive weapon, and if Percy Harvin would be willing to sign for zero guaranteed money, I’d bring him to camp . . . if there is a camp before the 2020 season. Some issues: Harvin—Josina Anderson reported he wants to make a comeback—will be 32 this fall, he has not played since 2016, and he played only 306 snaps combined in 2015 and ’16. I still would sign him. Remember his 87-yard kick-return TD in the Super Bowl six years ago? Key phrase: “six years ago.” But at his best, he was one of the two or three most dangerous weapons in the game, Tyreek Hill before there was a Tyreek Hill. Intriguing, and at 32, Harvin would be an interesting trial for some team. Steelers? Patriots? Falcons?
On the surface, King’s comments make a lot of sense. Quinn is familiar with Harvin from his time with Seattle and Florida, making him plenty aware of the big-play ability he can bring to the table. The Falcons also have a need for a return man. Atlanta didn’t spend a draft pick on a speedy specialist, and most recently, Dan Quinn said Brandon Powell was the “leader in the clubhouse” for the job, and he barely has any experience as a returner. If the Falcons were to bring in Harvin, at the very least, he’d be able to take over those duties and possibly even add to the receiver mix. Although, after three years out of the game, I wouldn’t expect him to take the WR3 job from Russell Gage.
Why I don’t believe this will happen is because of Harvin’s past. Unless he’s shown a clear change in his attitude, there have been character issues dating back to his days at Florida, and they aren’t just minor ones. Dan Quinn was there when all that stuff went down in Seattle, and I’m not sure he would be willing to take the risk of adding that type of dynamic to the locker room in a make or break year for him. The Falcons also usually place a very high value on character, and Harvin just doesn’t fit the bill of their standards.