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RENTON, Wash. – After the surgery and the rehabilitation, the setbacks and finally the triumph in the Super Bowl, a simple voluntary offseason workout has more meaning for Percy Harvin.
His appreciation is a byproduct of spending most of his first season with the Seattle Seahawks as a spectator.
"I'm just happy to be out here, I'm happy to be healthy right now," Harvin said last month during the Seahawks' organized team activities. "We're all tuned into what we have to get done this next coming year so we're all just out here working. It feels tremendously good to get back on the field and be as one."
Having Harvin fully healthy and ready to go from the start will be key for the Seahawks when they get to the start of training camp in late July. There are still three more days of workouts next week during minicamp to get through, but so far this offseason has been nothing but a success for Harvin in finally getting fully integrated into Seattle's offense.
Last season, Harvin pushed through the offseason workouts. It was a must in order to learn his new team, his new offense, his new quarterback after the trade that brought him to Seattle from Minnesota. But Harvin was never right, the pain in his hip never leaving.
"I knew I had pain, I didn't know exactly what it was so I just kind of pushed through the whole last year in the offseason," Harvin said.
The problem and what followed is now well known. Harvin had the labrum in his hip repaired and he played in only one regular-season game in 2013. He returned for the NFC divisional playoff game against New Orleans, only to get knocked out in the second quarter with a concussion. He missed the NFC championship game.
Of course, Harvin made his presence known on the biggest stage, with two big offensive plays in the first half of the Super Bowl and his 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.
The Super Bowl proved to be Harvin's springboard. Within a couple of weeks of the season ending, Harvin was texting teammates to make sure they were getting started on their offseason workouts. He took part with many of Seattle's wide receivers, tight ends and running backs during a pseudo-camp in Southern California organized by quarterback Russell Wilson.
And Harvin's been getting plenty of reps during the OTAs — all without pain.
"This is probably the best I've ever felt since before college," Harvin said.
Having Harvin as a full participant gives Seattle a chance to try to sort out its receiving situation early. While there is depth in the group there are also questions. Will Sidney Rice be healthy enough to return and be a contributor? Can Doug Baldwin move to the outside to replace Golden Tate and be as effective as he was playing mostly in the slot in previous seasons?
And how can Seattle use Harvin's skills to the fullest extent as long as he's healthy from the start of the season?
"Percy is spending a lot more time out there so that is bringing a new element of speed," Seattle cornerback Ricahrd Sherman said. "Our offense is coming up with some cool concepts. It's a fun little chess game out there."
NOTES: RB Marshawn Lynch was absent from the final OTA on Thursday, as he's been during the Seahawks' offseason program. Coach Pete Carroll was not made available to address reports that Lynch may skip next week's mandatory minicamp. Lynch would be subject to fines of about $70,000 if he skips next week's final three team sessions before the start of training camp in July. "We'd love to have him ... As long as he does his thing on Sunday, I got no problems with him at all," center Max Unger said.