EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin is an exceptional football player who isn’t very good at giving phony answers to reporters.
Ask him about playing with Brett Favre as a rookie with the Vikings in 2009 and his eyes practically twinkle as he praises Favre as a teammate, a player and a friend. Ask him in front of a dozen reporters about his post-Favre days with the Vikings and his face will go blank as he sidesteps the issue, saying nothing about quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder.
Ask him about his 2013 trade to Seattle and uniting with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and that twinkle returns as he compares Russell to Favre, particularly when it comes to how well he prepares for an opponent.
Because of Harvin’s hip surgery and concussion in Seattle’s NFC divisional playoff victory over New Orleans, Harvin and Russell have played only 39 snaps together this season. Yet there’s already a bond of respect that was obvious this week as the Seahawks prepared to face the Broncos on Sunday.
Told this week that Wilson had called him one of the best players in the league when healthy, Harvin said it was “a tremendous honor because I think the exact same thing of him. The way he prepares, I don’t think I’ve seen too many people have the knack to want be great. He wants to be a great quarterback. He just doesn’t want to be average or All-Pro. He wants to be talked about as a great quarterback, and I don’t think he’s going to stop until he does.”
Wilson is on his way in only his second NFL season. The 5-11, 206-pounder is an example of the modern read-option-style quarterback who plays with a confidence that he can’t be tackled. But he uses his speed and elusiveness to set up accurately thrown deep balls more often than he uses them to take off running beyond the line of scrimmage.
It’s working, too. With a 27-9 record, including playoffs, he is tied with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for most victories through two seasons in the Super Bowl era.
Wilson also has 52 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions and is the first quarterback in NFL history to post a 100-plus passer rating in each of his first two seasons. He was seventh in the league with a 101.2 rating this season.
He also makes it perfectly clear what his ultimate goal is.
“I want to change the game because, if you think about it, there’s a difference between being good and being great and changing the game,” he said. “I think guys like [Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning have changed the game in terms of the way he thinks, in terms of the way he processes things. You see that about him.
“[Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady is the same way. He’s so clutch, people fear him when he steps on the field. [Saints quarterback] Drew Brees is a guy like that. And one day I want to evolve to that. It’s a daily process. You respect the journey, you respect the process. I’m just growing one day at a time, and to be here in the second year is a good thing. I just have to keep going.”