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Football / Sports

Broncos could pay dearly for Seahawks' mistake

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- One day when you look back on the Seahawks' trade for Percy Harvin last March, there is every chance you will conclude that the Vikings dominated that deal.

But it all will be worth it for the Seahawks if the electric wide receiver and return man can make a play that propels his team to a victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

It is one of the rare instances this season Harvin will be in the mix for the Seahawks, and it might be the ultimate testament to the job general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have done building the organization that such a high-stakes misfire hasn't caused the team to skip a beat.

The Seahawks gave the Vikings first- and seventh-round picks in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 for Harvin before signing him to a six-year, $67 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed. That's giving up a top pick who could be signed to a rookie contract to sign a veteran to a huge deal.

Put that trade in context. The Bears forked over two third-round picks for Brandon Marshall. He has been to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. The Seahawks acquired Harvin after he missed the final seven games of 2012, and then he underwent hip surgery Aug. 1 that forced him out nearly this entire year. For the $14.5 million he has earned, Harvin has been on the field for 38 offensive snaps in the regular season and postseason combined and two special teams plays. That's more than $350,000 per play.

Harvin made one catch in the regular season against the Vikings on Nov. 18 and had a 58-yard kickoff return before aggravating the surgically repaired torn labrum in his hip. He has three catches in the postseason. Never in the history of the Super Bowl has a player done so little in the regular season and been such an X-factor for the biggest game of the season.

"It was definitely a trying year for me," Harvin said. "I had ups and downs. I don't know if (a Super Bowl triumph) would salvage (the year), but it definitely would be a dream come true.

"As far as me being back and forth, I'm not really looking it at it that way. I'm not really worrying about the past games I missed. I'm here now, I'm healthy and I'm ready to go."

Harvin was knocked out of the divisional-round playoff victory over the Saints with a concussion. He missed the NFC championship game but has been cleared for action now.

It was clear Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was intent on making Harvin a significant part of the attack against the Saints. They ran a jet sweep with Harvin, put him in the slot to run a go route and had him run slants and crossing routes from the slot. It was all inside breaking routes designed to get the ball in his hands.

"He creates a lot for us," Bevell said. "You've seen the special plays he can make, just the few that he has had. We're really excited about having him."

Understandably, the Broncos are not quite sure what to make of Harvin simply because it would take only a few clicks to zip through all of his snaps from this season.

"Not sure what to expect," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "One thing I do know is they will use him. He's too good of a player for them not to, so we'll be prepared for whatever they throw at us. The guy is an amazing player."

There were rumors at different points during the season that the Seahawks would end Harvin's season and place him on injured reserve. Keeping him around might prove to be one of the smartest decisions all year, even if the deal looks rather lopsided right now.

"It's not all about me and the time I missed," he said. "I've wanted to make plays because that's what I do and that's what I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I'm not into trying to do things because I didn't play half of the season or any of that. I'm there to make plays for my team because that's what I'm supposed to do."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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