RIP Jet Sweep

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By Eric Ronnebeck

At around 2:45pm on Friday, October 17th, news broke that Percy Harvin had been traded to the New York Jets for a 2015 conditional round draft pick. My reaction to the trade was much like everyone else’s: pure shock.
How could the Seahawks trade the star player they traded for just 19 months earlier?
How could the Seahawks only get a conditional round pick for Percy when they gave up a first, third, and seventh round picks to get him?
Whether you loved the trade and immediately bought his jersey or if you wondered when he would fit into the offense, this trade is a stunner. Without having access to Pete Carroll or John Schneider’s brain, figuring this one out will take some time but let’s look at some clues.

Looking at the Seahawk’s offensive woes, it’s hard to blame Percy Harvin. Darrell Bevell calls the plays for this offense and shoulders the blame for any problems in that area. Though to say that Harvin has had trouble in the offense this year would be fair. The jet sweeps and fakes being run by Percy showed a lot of promise in the first game this year against the Packers. Looking back at the Super Bowl from last year and the sweep that Percy ran, it was electrifying! That play and the kickoff touchdown return were the two huge plays we got to see from Percy last year and fans were counting on seeing this year. Instead, we’ve seen a stuttering offense featuring less Marshawn Lynch and too much of an ineffective Percy Harvin. Each week on the show we wondered, why isn’t Percy being used more as a receiver? Why are the Seahawks tailoring the running around Percy Harvin? Why is our supposed number one receiver playing less snaps than Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette? Why, indeed.

Percy Harvin has had a history of attitude issues going back as far as high school playing days. I’m not calling Percy a diva but getting suspended for three games in the last two years of your high school career warrants notice. He was suspended one game his junior year for unsportsmanlike conduct and two games in his senior year: one for contact with a referee and one game for sour language. That was just for football. In high school basketball, Percy had an altercation with a player for the opposing team during a game. This resulted in an athletic suspension for Percy which kept him from fully competing with the high school track team.
Harvin would then spend his college career at the University of Florida. According to a report by the Sporting News, Harvin missed a 2008 game because of a failed a drug test for marijuana instead of an injury, which was reported. Florida Coach Urban Meyer supposedly covered this up to keep his players from being suspended. Other incidents of note include a supposed refusal to run with his team for conditioning drills as well as a disturbing incident that involved a physical altercation with an assistant coach at Florida.

That’s not all. Going back to his time as a Minnesota Viking, there were questions about Harvin’s attitude as well as further incidents that made news. Shouting matches with head coach Brad Childress happened frequently and there was report of a “possible” altercation with Viking coach Leslie Frazier. According to an article by Yahoo Sports Jason Cole, Harvin threatened to walk out on his Viking teammates when college teammate Aaron Hernandez got a big payday from the Patriots. You read that correctly: Percy Harvin threatened his team because a former teammate got paid by a separate employer. These were reports by people close to the Vikings organization and Percy certainly isn’t a criminal here, but to say that they show a glowing report of Percy Harvin would be a lie.

No one knows exactly why the Seahawks traded Percy Harvin except for the Seattle Seahawks. We can wonder and form our own ideas but in the end, none of us were there. I wanted years of watching Percy Harvin as a Seahawk but instead I got less than eight games. As I write this, a report comes down that maybe Percy Harvin didn’t want to be here and that the Seahawks accommodated him. I’m sure, even if indirectly, that’s true. But I also know that Pete Carroll is the Seahawks head coach and he’s demonstrated to us, in his tenure here, that he doesn’t put up with players who don’t want to be here. Remember TJ Houshmanzadeh? One year after signing a five year, $40 million dollar contract, rumors swirled that he didn’t like the new “competition atmosphere” that Pete Carroll brought in. One year with the Hawks leading the team in receptions, the next year gone. Percy Harvin never led the team in receptions but I think I’ll miss him more than I missed TJ Houshmanzadeh.

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