At Florida, Harvin frequently clashed with coaches but was a major contributor to two national titles.
His thorny four-year relationship in Minnesota is over now, its highlights unforgettable with the headaches still felt.
Said Anderson: “I always told Percy, what makes you tick, makes you tock.”
Holding a grudge
Competition, McDaniel says, hooks Harvin. McDaniel recalls the casual graduation party Harvin turned into a three-on-three basketball battle with relatives.
“Most people chill at their graduation parties, hang out, eat food with family,” McDaniel said. “Percy’s? He’s dunking, yelling. The ball is flying onto people’s plates. It’s in him, man. He can’t be outdone. If you try to, he’s only going to come at you with greater ferocity. That’s the thing that’s always worked for him.”
Except when it doesn’t.
“I can say Percy never knew that ‘Let it go’ mentality,” McDaniel said.
It should be noted that Harvin never wore out his welcome in the Vikings’ locker room. Veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams said Harvin was “a great teammate” whose passion and investment in getting better always was welcomed.
Added Brian Robison: “Whatever happened with Percy behind closed doors with management, he kept it behind those doors. I always respected that. He played through injury, practiced through injury. He was never a talk-big prima donna. If anything, he worked harder when he didn’t get what he wanted. You ask any guy in our locker room, we would have loved to keep Percy.”
It’s now Pete Carroll’s job to play firefighter. Carroll remains aware that Harvin comes with that “extremely flammable” warning label. But the Seahawks coach is certain the inferno never should be extinguished.
Without the anger, Carroll recognizes, Harvin’s desire might not burn so intensely.
“With the greatest of the great athletes, I think that’s a positive. Sometimes they push the limits,” Carroll said. “They’re like that because that’s who they are. … That nature has made Percy what he is. So if you think that that’s a problem, you’re missing the boat.”
That boat is docked in Seattle now with new throngs of excited passengers looking to board.
The ride should be thrilling. Its dangers, though, must be known.