National Football League
By John McMullen, NFL Editor - Archive - Email
Strike three is looming for Harvin
Percy Harvin Percy Harvin has been a behavioral issue dating back to his days in Gainesville.
Philadelphia, PA ( - Breakin' up is hard to do, at least according to Neil Sedaka.

For Pete Carroll and John Schneider, though, it wasn't difficult at all. The Seahawks' braintrust sent the disagreeable Percy Harvin to the desperate New York Jets on Friday in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

It most likely will be just a sixth-round selection but could move up to a fourth-rounder if Harvin actually starts acting like a professional in New York, a bigger long-shot than the 1-6 Jets turning things around and making a run toward the postseason.

That's a far cry from the first-, third-and seventh-round picks the Seahawks sent to Minnesota to "pry" the immensely talented Harvin from the Vikings back in March of 2013.

"We made a bold move in acquiring him," Schneider said Sunday on the 710 ESPN Seattle pregame radio show. "But it became apparent that things weren't going to work out, and it wasn't a good fit.

"We have to prepare this team for moving forward all the time, and I'm not just talking about this week or next week. I'm talking about 2015 and 2016. We constantly have to look at how we improve the team. This was the appropriate move at the appropriate time."

The reality is Vikings GM Rick Spielman fleeced the Seahawks, selling them on the siren song of Harvin's pure athletic ability while playing down his shoddy to non-existent work habits and anger-management issues.

Every coach thinks they are the one that can get through to a player, and one of Carroll's true strengths as a mentor is his ability to connect with a far younger generation.

Spielman, meanwhile, framed Harvin's issues in Minnesota as frustration playing with overmatched quarterback Christian Ponder, a tact that resonated with Seattle, which has a much more competent signal caller with a high- ceiling in Russell Wilson.

The Seahawks found out quickly that Harvin's reputation as a bad guy was hardly overblown. If anything, it was underplayed as coach after coach looked the other way because of his elite playmaking ability.

Harvin has been a behavioral issue dating back to his days in Gainesville at the University of Florida, where he once threatened to quit the team over his Allen Iverson-like hatred of practice.

More than one in Minnesota questioned if Harvin's much-publicized migraine issues were really just an attempt to beg out of practice whenever he wanted and the lack of trust could have fueled the near fist fight he had with ex- Vikings coach Brad Childress, who called Harvin out for milking an ankle injury.

If Harvin had actually hit his old boss with the Vikings it probably would have short-circuited his NFL career for good but things were broken up before Harvin did irreparable damage to his future.

Plenty of people with the Vikings didn't get along with Childress, though. The real red flag in Minnesota was when Harvin cussed out the well-respected Leslie Frazier before being banished and ultimately traded.

You can certainly criticize Frazier as a coach, but the next person to say something bad about him as a person will be the first.

The fact that Harvin couldn't get along with Frazier is the only litmus test you need and hindsight says the receiver didn't learn from any of his troubles with the Vikings.

The surprising trade to the Jets forced the Seahawks into clandestinely explaining why they dealt away such a talent, who may have been the best player on the field when the franchise won its first Super Bowl back in February.

Sources close to the Seahawks leaked the fact that Harvin did indeed get into an altercation with former teammate Golden Tate before the Super Bowl that resulted in Tate getting a black eye.

"Something did go on at the Super Bowl that a lot of fans don't know about," former Seahawk and Michael Robinson, who now works with NFL media, said. "There was an altercation in the locker room between Percy Harvin and Golden Tate. It saddens me because I was a leader on that team and to know that this information got out -- usually Pete Carroll-coached teams, this type of thing stays in-house.

"There was an issue, I physically broke it up, I was there, you would have to ask those guys what they were arguing about, I'm not at liberty to talk about it."

Maybe a one-off can be explained but another incident reportedly took place with Harvin and fellow wide receiver Doug Baldwin in the week leading up to the final preseason game this past August at Oakland which resulted in Baldwin ending up with a cut on his chin.

If workplace violence wasn't enough Harvin's final impudent act in the Pacific Northwest came in the team's Week 6 loss to Dallas when he apparently refused both Carroll and offensive coordinator's Darrell Bevell's orders to go back into the game in the fourth quarter.

"Coaches are used to dealing with moodiness, selfishness," former coach Bill Cowher said on CBS' NFL Today. "That's part of a team, particularly when you have success. But Percy Harvin just didn't get it.

"When you sit there in front of another team and in front of coaches and refuse to go into the game, it's a line that you cross that you can't go back to. I think that Pete Carroll did the right thing, and kudos to him for being proactive. In the past, coaches have been afraid to make the reactionary move. He did what he had to do, and he made the statement, no one player is bigger than the team. To me, that's the most important thing that comes out of this."

"Everything that goes on, we're keeping to ourselves," Carroll said after Seattle's loss in St. Louis on Sunday. "It really was just a move we made for our team. We're always trying to get better."

Trying to get better with Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood?

"I don't know if you ever replace a special player like {Harvin)," Carroll admitted when pressed, hinting that this is an addition by subtraction scenario in the organization's mind.

Harvin played just one regular season game and two postseason games during Seattle's Super Bowl run a year ago and appeared in the first five games this season, hauling in 22 passes for only 133 yards and rushing for 92 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown.

The Seahawks ultimately decided that Harvin "just wasn't a fit" for the exact same reasons the Vikings did and the Jets ultimately will.

Harvin has maturity issues and stunted people skills. On the field, he is a reckless player, prone to injury who remains content to rely on his God-given abilities. Six years into what could have been a spectacular career, you still have to manufacture touches for Harvin because he has no desire to learn the route tree, never mind sharpen his route-running ability.

"Being a quarterback that has played with a lot of big time playmakers, I am never a guy who is going to say that a quarterback is better off without a big time playmaker," NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said. "But I think in this situation, Russell Wilson might be better off. When you have a game plan for a guy like Percy Harvin, you take opportunities away from Russell Wilson to do what he does because you have to create for Percy Harvin."

Seattle was supposed to be Harvin's wake-up call, an opportunity to play with the NFL's deepest team and an ascending young quarterback. Instead he hit the snooze button and when he finally opens his eyes this time, it's Geno Smith and another bad team.

Anyone think that's working out?