A little more than a week into his tenure with the Jets, all is well with Percy Harvin. He says he feels the love from his teammates and coaches, is anxious to contribute as much as he can as soon as he can, and has no problem going from the defending Super Bowl champions to the 1-6 AFC East bottom-feeders.
Ah, just give it some time.
Harvin has been on his best behavior, and we figure it will stay that way the remainder of the season. After all, if it doesn't work out here for Harvin -- a former first-round pick who now is on his third team in 20 months -- chances are he'll never see the kind of money he's making in the second year of a six-year, $67-million deal he signed last year with the Seahawks.
Harvin made a fortune with the Seahawks, earning $25.5 million guaranteed. But after this season, it's strictly a pay-as-you-go deal, with Harvin due to make $10.5 million next season, $9.9 million in 2016, $9.95 million in 2017 and $11.15 million in 2018. There's no way he will earn all that money if the problems he had in Minnesota and Seattle resurface with the Jets.
Look, we're not rooting against Harvin, who can give the Jets the kind of speed and explosiveness that very few receivers have offered in the team's entire history. We're simply being mindful of all the examples other me-first wide receivers have provided over the years, and realizing that a player with the kind of baggage Harvin has brought with him needs to make some big changes if he's going to fit in long-term.
And right now, Harvin doesn't seem inclined to do that. While he has expressed nothing but delight about being with his new teammates and having a chance to turn around the Jets' fortunes, he also sounds like a player who doesn't think he's done much wrong during his career.
Even if the circumstances suggest otherwise.
The list of incidents is a long one:
He got into a fight with teammate Golden Tate a few days before the Super Bowl last February. In the preseason, there was another altercation with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who reportedly suffered a cut on his chin, according to the Seattle Times. The Times also reported that Harvin refused to play late in a recent game against the Cowboys, a charge Harvin denies.
In Minnesota, where he lasted only four seasons, he got into a shouting match with then-coach Leslie Frazier on the sideline during a game against the Seahawks in 2012. Harvin also had issues with former Vikings coach Brad Childress. The two got into an argument in the weight room and Harvin threw a weight at Childress, leaving a hole in the wall, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
He reportedly tested positive for marijuana at Florida and tested positive at the scouting combine in 2009, according to FoxSports.com. And in high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, he was suspended twice, once for unsportsmanlike conduct and another time for bumping an official and using inappropriate language.
The Jets are willing to take a shot that the 26-year-old Harvin can turn his career around and provide the deep threat their offense can sorely use. And Harvin seems willing to give the Jets a chance, even if he has almost no hope of another Super Bowl run this year.
"I take the challenge and look at [this] as being part of something special,'' Harvin said. "A lot of people have written this team off. But once we turn this thing around, I can say I was part of something special.''
Yes, that would be special. But it's also highly unlikely this year, and whether he'll even be around next year or beyond remains to be seen.
For now, he seems content to begin a new chapter to his career and unwilling to revisit his past issues.
"I'm not worried about anything in the past,'' he said. "I'm just looking forward to my opportunities now. I'm here with this team. That's all I'm looking forward to.''
It should be noted, however, that Harvin doesn't see the need to make any changes in his approach. When asked this past week if he needs to reassess himself or his locker-room behavior, Harvin replied, "Not at all. I've been embraced by this team, my coaches and my brothers. They've all told me to be me. That's all I'm focused on.''
Here's hoping it works out for Harvin and his new team. The man has some amazing athletic gifts that certainly can help the Jets, but it's foolish to ignore the issues that have come before. Harvin has some growing up to do if this is going to work.