Harvin's return imperative with Rice out


Getting wide receiver Percy Harvin back on the field as soon as possible just became a lot more important for the Seattle Seahawks.

The team announced Tuesday that wide receiver Sidney Rice is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the Monday night game at St. Louis. Rice wasn’t having the best season among the Seattle receiving corps, but he still had 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

His loss leaves the team without a quality starter, something Harvin can more than make up for if he’s ready to play. But that’s still an unknown.

Harvin, Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisition, coming over in a trade with Minnesota, had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to participate somewhat in practice last week, but was not activated off the physically unable to perform list for the St. Louis game.

Seattle coaches have wanted to be cautious with Harvin’s return. He’s a $67 million investment ($25 million guaranteed) with the new five-year contract the Seahawks gave him. They want to make sure Harvin is healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs, and didn’t feel an urgency to rush it with four receivers who were playing well -- Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Rice.

However, Rice’s injury may have changed their perspective, along with the fact that the offense struggled and had only 135 total yards in the 14-9 victory over the Rams.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson did a lot of individual drills with Harvin last week. He believes Harvin can fit in and contribute immediately.

"I feel very comfortable with him already," Wilson said. "We talk about game stuff all the time. He’s up here all the time just getting ready. So I think the biggest thing is just continuing to throw to him, continue to just do what it takes to have that chemistry."

Harvin can help the Seahawks in many different ways -- as a speed receiver, a kick returner and even a man who lines up in the backfield.

"He’s a great football player," Wilson said. "He’s one of the best in the National Football League and he will bring electricity to our offense when he is able to come and play. We’re excited about that opportunity. But the great thing is we have so many other guys that have stepped up this season. Just to be able to add Percy, whenever that opportunity comes around, we’re excited about that."

Wilson was asked what’s the most important thing Harvin can bring to the offense.

"Just the fear factor," Wilson said. "I think Percy brings so much speed, he can do so many great things, and he just loves the game of football. You’ve just got to love having guys out there that just love the game like he does."

But whether Harvin is ready to step in and immediately fill the void left by Rice is anyone’s guess. That may take a little more time. If so, the Seahawks will have to make do until Harvin is ready to go.