It looks like
the Saints defense will face a new challenge this Saturday in Seattle, now that
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin is saying he will "absolutely"
play versus the Saints.
The former Florida
Gator star sat out of the first game between these two teams in December
because of problems with his surgically repaired hip.
"He is a
dynamic player," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "He can run
exceptionally fast. He can change direction very well. You have to
pay attention to where he is anytime he is on the field as a returner and
clearly as someone that can line up in a lot of different spots that we've seen
as a player on offense."
Harvin played in
just one game this season for the Seahawks because of his hip issues: the
mid-November matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, Harvin's former team.
During that game,
Harvin re-aggravated the swelling and buildup in his surgically repaired hip,
seemingly returning to action too soon.
This week, Harvin
has had no issues with cuts or routes in practice.
Now, Harvin says he feels great, and is ready
to join his teammates and help however possible.
"This team is set," Harvin said. "I'm just looking forward to
jumping on the bus and enjoying the ride."
Harvin credits his
teammates, especially cornerback Richard Sherman, with motivating him and
making sure he didn't give up when it looked like his hip was regressing.
Sherman came to me every single day to let me know the team was keeping up with
me," Harvin said. "He kept saying it to me, kept saying it to me.
Numerous guys encouraged me. There were times I thought about shutting it down,
but the guys kept giving me that positive energy I needed. It all started to
turn around for me, so I decided I'm going to give it everything I have and go
coach Pete Carroll says he'll unleash Harvin, allowing him to give the game his
all: no snap count restrictions for Harvin Saturday.
"If he's going, he's
going," Carroll said.
That means Saints
defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is tweaking his game plan, because Harvin adds
another degree of difficulty to the Hawks already potent offense, especially if
Harvin plays inspired.
so," Ryan said. "He's an elite player when he's healthy. I'm sure
he's had a couple of good weeks in there to get back with (Seahawks offensive
coordinator Darrell) Bevell and that offense. They do a great job and they do a
hell of a job using all of his talents. One time he's lined up at running back,
at receiver, hell they can put him at center probably and hike the ball. He's
all over the place. We know who he is. We'll have him identified, and we'll do
a great job."
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